At AAOS Knee Implant Makers Pitch Better Fit, Precision
Once beyond reproach, knee replacement surgeries are getting a long, hard look by surgeons, researchers, and companies trying to determine whether success rates that exceed 90% can be improved upon by using customized implants or surgical robots.
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Beaten down by the great recession, the large joint arthroplasty market appears to be on the cusp of a turnaround, with several big players reporting encouraging Q4 and full-year 2012 results. A full recovery in this space is likely to take some time, but technology advances could help jumpstart the process, and there may be some interesting dynamics ahead in the patient-specific implant and robotic ortho device arenas.
At AAOS’ 2012 meeting, one attention-grabbing strategy centered on the personalization of large joint implants to match the specific anatomies of patients. Several large joint manufacturers have introduced tools for achieving “custom fits” for new joints, knees in particular. Advances in robotics and customized manufacturing are enabling smaller companies to take personalization to the next step. MAKO featured its MAKOplasty Total Hip Arthroplasty (MAKOplasty THA), an advancement of its partial knee MAKOplasty procedure. In another approach toward customizing knee surgeries, ConforMIS manufactures a line of knee implants that are custom made for each individual patient.
Privately held ConforMIS Inc. is reintroducing customization to the large joint. It launched two new resurfacing tools this year and hopes to introduced a third, called iTotal, next year as a potential alternative to total knee implants.