In an exciting year for healthcare, orthopedic device companies underwent mergers and acquisitions, strove to find the most innovative solutions and made calculated decisions in the hopes of achieving long-term success as the market becomes increasingly competitive. So who had the best 2016?
Dr. Matthew T. Hummel of Commonwealth Orthopaedic Centers performed the first total knee replacement surgery using new robotic-arm assisted technology at St. Elizabeth Healthcare — technology available at only a handful of medical centers in the nation.
Today’s successful surgery was performed using a device called the Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery System. The surgeon’s use of the robotic-arm system brings exceptional accuracy to the surgery — which can mean the patient has a much better result, with more natural movement and less pain after the surgery.
Together with highly detailed computerized scans of the knee before surgery, the robotic arm-assisted device ensures incredibly accurate cuts for the surgery, along with precise alignment and placement of the knee implant. The device allows for accuracy within a single millimeter, or the thickness of a thread.
“I think our ability to use this advanced technology can really change the world for our patients who need this type of surgery,” Hummel said. “With our surgical expertise and with this equipment, this surgery can now be performed with exceptional accuracy, providing better results for patients.”
Image Credit: Stryker
These new orthopedic products generated a lot of buzz at last week’s meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is an opportunity for orthopedics companies to showcase their latest, greatest innovations for customers. At this year’s event in San Diego, the following products especially caught analysts’ eye.
By Jamie Hartford | Qmed
Image Credit: Stryker
Medical devices implanted in the body for drug delivery, sensing, or tissue regeneration usually come under fire from the host’s immune system. Defense cells work to isolate material they consider foreign to the body, building up a wall of dense scar tissue around the devices, which eventually become unable to perform their functions.
Researchers at MIT and Boston Children’s Hospital have identified a signaling molecule that is key to this process of “fibrosis,” and they have shown that blocking the molecule prevents the scar tissue from forming. The findings, reported in the March 20 issue of Nature Materials, could help scientists extend the lifespan of many types of implantable medical devices.
By Anne Trafton | MIT News
Image Credit: Felice Frankel
If you walked through the sprawling exhibit floor of the San Diego Convention Center last week, you would have noticed products galore. Mannequins being pretend treated on hospital beds, and all kinds of medical devices being touted for surgeons and other buyers.
And yet the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons was less about rods and screws and the latest techniques in surgery, and more about bundled care and the shift from volume to value. And this despite the fact that the Trump administration appointees are putting a temporary pause on programs that expand or implement bundled care.
This is an important shift given that device vendors in the past would dazzle surgeons with the latest technologies as physician preference and large egos would rule hospital purchasing decisions. All of it without a thought placed on how much those shiny objects cost.
And now the pendulum has swung to where device manufacturers are casting themselves as partners to help solve hospital’s problems.
Image Credit: AAOS
Johnson & Johnson and Verily Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences) have a joint venture to create the next generation of robotic surgery souped up with digital technologies in the future. (Watch out Intuitive Surgical.)
But when it comes to hip and knee replacement today, J&J Depuy Synthes is a robotic have-not.
Competitors have robots or are close to having something robotic in joint replacement.
On Tuesday, Stryker launched its total knee application on the expensive Mako robotduring the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Diego. That same day at AAOS, Smith & Nephew previewed its hand-held robot-assisted device for total knee replacements in advance of a market release in the second quarter. And Zimmer-Biomet was also proudly displaying its robot on the exhibit floor — the Rosa robot acquired with the purchase of French firm Medtech SA – although the robot won’t be doing total knee replacements until 2018.
Image Credit: Getty Images
Spend enough time with Larry Smarr and, chances are, he’ll invite you to step inside his colon.
Like more than a million Americans, Smarr has inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike most, he also runs a cutting-edge institute replete with reams of ultrafast computers, crack graphics programmers, a towering wall of digital screens and a pitch-black virtual reality cave — all the better to summon up a digital 3-D version of himself that he calls “Transparent Larry.” Among its features is a larger-than-life replica of his colon that includes every nook, cranny, and section of inflamed tissue.
Smarr, 69, is a physicist widely recognized for his work on creating the national network of campus supercomputers that evolved into today’s internet. Now, he runs a futuristic institute called Calit2, housed on the University of California campuses in San Diego and Irvine, that works to advance a host of fields, including medicine. For the last decade, he’s been turning technology on to himself to quantify his body’s most intimate workings, with no clear idea where the experiment might lead.
Image Credit: Jurgen Schulze, UC San Diego