Innovation is the driving force behind the evolution of orthopaedics, continually delivering advances in surgical techniques and products. Now, technology improvements and data open up a world of new possibilities.
Here are the top 5 areas where I believe innovation is transforming the field.
1. Co-creation: addressing unmet clinical, demographic and environmental needs
We already know that paying attention to patient, surgeon and health care system needs, then working together with the industry’s best, leads to products that make a real difference. The development of new approaches to old surgical challenges, such as an anterior approach in hip replacement or lateral approaches in spine surgery, are made possible by new instrumentation and procedural streamlining.
In knee replacement, we continue to focus on the 20% of patients that remain somehow dissatisfied. In spine surgery, 86% of surgeons report that instrumentation for spinal deformity needs improvement. We are also increasingly focused on infection prevention, responding to the critical needs created by an aging population, and playing our part in supporting sustainable hospital systems.
2. Material innovation: technological advancements fuel engineering excellence
The increased demand for orthopaedic procedures calls for the exploration of advancements in technologies like 3D printing and innovations in material selection – like the utilisation of strong, lightweight titanium in many orthopaedic devices.
We also see innovation in hybrid medical devices combining implants with instruments to help get the job done more efficiently than ever. Hospitals value such solutions as they not only often result in reduced procedure duration, increased efficiency and space optimization in operating rooms, but also enable inventory management improvements and cost savings.
3. Truly personalized medicine: no longer a pipe dream – but rather a dream come true
The move toward virtual surgical planning, along with patient-specific implants, is revolutionizing care standards. Advances in personalised orthopaedic medicine all lead toward greater customisation, precision and improved efficiency. I’m excited by the advent of 3D bioprinting in orthopaedics, a market with an expected growth rate of more than 25% between now and 2023.
4. Robotic revolution: propelling the next way of innovation
Digital surgery is the next true industry enabler, in my opinion. From patient-specific alignment (PSA) to software-driven navigation systems that provide greater flexibility and control over intricate procedures to full robotics systems, the industry’s once narrow device-centric view is transforming into a truly comprehensive digital ecosystem. Advancements in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) and arthroscopic sports medicine procedures allow patients to stabilise faster. Greater data access leads to increased accuracy, predictability, and lower total cost of treatment.
5. Value-based healthcare: making the biggest innovations shine the brightest
The whole point of industry advancements like those I mention above is to deliver safer and better outcomes for patients. Designing safety and efficiency into solutions becomes possible by using algorithm-driven approaches. An increased volume of surgeries and regulations in many EMEA countries restrict the working hours of residents, making on-the-spot digitally-enabled education paramount to progress.
One thing is abundantly clear, continuous innovation creates champions. Those of us in the orthopaedics industry who can respond to these trends will emerge as the leaders in this new era for healthcare.
Check out the video: European surgeons are talking about the upcoming technologies and the meaning of innovation in orthopaedics.