The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) annual meeting in Las Vegas is abuzz about robotics, according to industry analysts from SVB Leerink.
While the SVB Leerink analysts termed Stryker’s (NYSE:SYK) Mako platform “best-in-class,” robotically assisted orthopedic surgery is an expanding category. Other major orthopedics companies are using this week’s AAOS meeting to introduce new offerings or tout updates to existing ones.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), for example, said it plans to debut its Orthotaxy total knee system in 2020, with spine, hip and eventually shoulder indications likely to follow. J&J bought the French robot-assisted surgery startup in 2018, and didn’t have any photos of the prototype to share. But the analysts said it attaches to the patient table and includes a saw/bone cutting capability, like Mako. Unlike Mako, it will not have haptic capability. Rather, it gets the surgeon locked into a cutting plane and preserves the surgeon’s control of the saw (side to side and front to back) on that plane.
Another hot topic at this year’s AAOS gathering is the trend toward performing orthopedic procedures in outpatient/ambulatory surgery centers and the ways that companies are positioning themselves to better serve these lower cost-of-care settings. In contrast to hospitals, outpatient/ambulatory surgery centers require greater OR efficiency, more sensitivity to equipment costs and the requirement for quicker patient discharge.
In fact, Smith & Nephew (NYSE:SNN) and ultimately, J&J, appear to be positioning their robotics platforms as more conducive to an ambulatory surgery center setting, with lower-priced systems and smaller system footprints. The J&J device could come in at half the price of Mako, but it will only be one part of an interconnected ecosystem of pre-operative, intra-operative, and post-operating surgical intelligence/digital surgery capabilities, the analysts said.
Here are some examples of what ortho device manufacturers are touting at the meeting: