Knee Replacement Surgery and Robotics

Knee replacement is the common joint replacement surgery undertaken for patients with knee damaging diseases such as osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. By product type, the global knee replacement market is segmented as follows: primary knee replacement (cemented or cementless), partial knee replacement and revision knee replacement. Implants are generally made of metal alloys, ceramic material, or plastic.

The global knee replacement market is presently consolidated into the largest manufacturers: Stryker Corporation, Zimmer Holdings, Smith & Nephew Plc, DePuy Companies, Inc, Wright Medical Group, Inc,, Biomet, Inc., Exactech. and B. Braun Melsungen AG. The knee implant market is expected to grow due to several factors such as the increasing rate of old-age diseases like osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and sports-related injuries. The North American and European markets are projected to maintain the largest share of the global knee replacement market followed by Asia and the Middle East. The demand for knee replacement surgery devices in Asia is attributed to the growing awareness of treatments, the increasing elderly population and the fact that the procedures and devices that were previously considered unaffordable are now within financial reach of the growing middle class.

The emerging knee replacement market has been experiencing a phase of new product development and technological advancement due to greater demand, including minimal invasive surgery and better implant materials which are making knee replacements more widely accepted by younger patients. Also, orthopedic surgical robots are taking knee (and hip) surgery quality far beyond what has previously been available. Robot-assisted surgery gives the surgeon better control over the surgical instruments and a better view of the surgical site. Knee and hip surgical robots provide consistent reproducible precision which human surgeons cannot. When knee and hip surgical robots are used, patients have less bleeding, reduction of post-operative pain, fewer re-admissions to hospital and faster recovery. This capability is so significant for implant surgery that some experts predict that robots are positioned to become the prevailing standard of care for knee and hip surgery within five years.

Stryker Orthopedics has had success with its Mako system for partial knee replacement. By selectively targeting the part of the knee damaged by osteoarthritis, a surgeon can replace the diseased part of the knee while sparing the healthy bone and ligaments surrounding it. The Mako technology provides the surgeon with a patient-specific 3D model to pre-plan the replacement. During surgery, the surgeon guides the Mako robotic-arm based on your the plan, allowing the surgeon to remove only the diseased bone, preserving healthy bone and soft tissue, and assisting the surgeon in positioning the implant based on the patient’s anatomy.

Hospitals are adopting robotic surgical devices to be used by trained physicians to improve their outcomes. Many universities worldwide have research programs in robotics and are awarding degrees on the subject, leading to roboticists increasingly being hired by top companies to link mobile robots into existing IT systems.The hip and knee surgical robot device market stood at $84 million in 2015, and is anticipated to reach $4.6 billion by 2022.

However, the global knee replacement market is also facing challenges such as high surgery costs, increasing competition, the increasing number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the market and growing awareness for some non-surgical treatment methods such as exercises, weight loss, walking aids, shoe inserts and pain medicines.

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