TKRs, Associated Products Among Strategic Announcements, Launches at AAOS 2018

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ (AAOS) Annual Meeting is an opportunity for industry professionals to showcase and check out some of the latest and most innovative orthopaedic solutions, devices, research and technology. The meeting is being held in New Orleans at the Morial Convention Center, March 6-10.

Total knee replacements (TKRs) and associated products were among the items on our radar at AAOSincluding these strategic announcements:

  • Four-year data from the UK National Joint Registry highlights high survivorship in patients treated with the Conformis iTotal CR knee.
  • Corin launched the Unity Knee™, featuring EquiBalance™ instrumentation to address ligament balancing and soft tissue preservation during TKR.
  • MicroPort Orthopedics marked 20 years on the market with the Evolution® Medial-Pivot total knee. Since its 1998 launch, the device has been implanted in >550,000 patients.
  • Smith & Nephew commenced full release of the JOURNEY™ II XR bi-cruciate retaining total knee in Japan and the U.S.
  • Though no formal announcement was made, Zimmer Biomet CEO Bryan Hanson reiterated to analysts, including Larry Biegelsen, Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, that the ROSA®Total Knee 2H18 limited launch timeline is expected to be maintained.

These announcements come at a time where the average age for knee replacement surgeries has declined from 68 to just under 66, according to a study released at AAOS. Even this small, two-year decline is significant, noted Dr. Matthew Sloan, co-author of the study and an orthopaedic surgery resident in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The younger age of patients is “possibly due to increasing obesity or increased access to care in a generation that desires to maintain an active lifestyle into their retirement years,” Dr. Sloane said.

In addition to the AAOS items of note, another recent move in the knee segment occurred in February, when through its Apsis affiliate in France, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices acquired Orthotaxy, a developer of a robotic-assisted surgery solution in early-stage development for total and partial knee replacement. Orthotaxy was founded by robotics entrepreneur Stéphane Lavallée, Ph.D., whose numerous granted and pending patents address all manner of surgical enabling technologies and whose Surgivisio company is a first-time exhibitor at AAOS 2018. Orthotaxy’s software-enabled technology will join JNJ’s present toolbox for delivery of personalized approaches across an episode of care, with offerings like DePuy Synthes’ TRUMATCH personalized cutting guides for the knee. In conversations with BONEZONE at AAOS, JNJ did not provide a timeline for launch of the Orthotaxy robotic-assisted surgery solution.

In the critical trends department, we recently highlighted that the emphasis on healthcare costs 90 days after TKR has led companies to launch patient engagement tools that help hospitals and surgeons improve patient outcomes and control spend (and keep the companies competitive in the market). Multiple app- and web-based recovery programs have emerged, and we expect that more orthopaedic device companies will enter this space as bundled payments continue to gain traction.

Another trend within the knee segment is the shift to outpatient settings for TKR procedures. As we previously reported, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized in 2017 that it will cover TKR procedures at ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). In turn, we advised companies with TKR products to stay engaged with surgeons about their site preference for procedures. Medicare’s inpatient-only (IPO) list includes, as the name suggests, procedures that are only paid under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System. Each year, CMS reviews its IPO list to keep or discard procedures. This year, CMS is removing total knee arthroplasty. Private payors have increasingly incentivized surgeons to move TKR procedures to outpatient settings in an effort to reduce cost and improve outcomes. Industry voices have indicated that as more surgeons and ASCs are able to meet or exceed those cost and outcome metrics, Medicare would follow, covering outpatient care.

Revenue-wise, ORTHOWORLD’s preliminary estimates indicate that the knee market increased by 2.9% in 2017 over 2016. As knee is a priority market for the leading companies in joint reconstruction, expansion of product lines, technologies and geographic reach in this segment is expected to continue in 2018 and beyond.

Other select AAOS strategic announcements included:

NOCC XLOrthobiologics

Arthroscopy/Soft Tissue


OWBooth2Joint Recon 


AAOS news as it happens can be found on ORTHOWORLD's ORTHOFLASH® as well as the @ORTHOWORLDInc and @OMTEC_BONEZONE Twitter feeds. Also, follow @CarolynLaWell, our Chief Content Officer, who is tweeting from New Orleans.

Rob Meyer is ORTHOWORLD’s Senior Editor. He can be reached by 
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ORTHOWOLD’S Editorial Assistant This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. contributed to this report.