Orthopaedic device makers have endured a bumpy ride over the past two years with hip and knee replacements among the first to be postponed when the COVID-19 virus struck.
Just as elective procedures were bouncing back in the first half of this year, the delta variant emerged to strain hospital capacity again in parts of the country, and widespread staffing shortages have added to the difficulties facing hospitals.
The persistence of the virus, though, and the challenges it has brought to the healthcare system have not slowed the expansion of robot-assisted surgery among orthopaedics-focused medtechs Stryker and Zimmer Biomet. Now, Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes unit is ramping up its presence in the market with its Velys robotic system for total knee replacement procedures.
“I don’t think it’s a market share battle as much as market expansion. All the companies are riding this wave,” said Needham & Co. analyst Mike Matson.
At Stryker, which has benefited in recent years from being first out of the gate with its Mako robot, CEO Kevin Lobo credited the platform with being a key driver of sales growth in the second quarter. The company’s U.S. orthopaedic sales alone climbed 26% vs. the same period in 2019, largely due to Mako, Stryker executives said.
Zimmer is also seeing strong demand for its Rosa robot, which was cleared for partial knee surgeries in April and total hip replacements in August. The system gained U.S. clearance for total knee replacement surgery two years ago.
Image Credit: Cory Calendine, MD