|Brian Cole, M.D.||Lester Fehr||Adam Klyce||John McCutcheon||Scott Schaffner|
Growth in the arthroscopy and soft tissue repair market is propelled by surgeon requests for devices that employ muscle- and tissue-sparing techniques to return patients to activity faster and with less pain. This is largely being driven by patients in this segment, particularly athletes and “weekend warriors,” who are making more decisions about their care.
Companies in this space will need to equip surgeons with the tools they seek to meet this trend, bearing in mind patient outcomes and costs, though price pressure is not as high in this segment as other orthopaedic markets.
BONEZONE spoke with four device companies, ranging from early-stage to large player, that are responding to these surgeon and patient trends in a number of ways. Some are launching and refining diverse product portfolios to cover a range of procedures, while others are focusing on specific clinical needs. Surgeons and companies say that some biologics are gaining greater traction as potential treatment options, as well.
Simplification continues to be an interest expressed by surgeons, says Scott Schaffner, Vice President of Sports Medicine at Smith & Nephew, the second-largest player in the segment behind Arthrex.
“If there are ways to spare anatomy, we obviously want to do it in the least disruptive way possible,” he says. “The ultimate goal is to continue to improve outcomes. There are a lot of wonderful procedures within sports medicine today, but everyone acknowledges room for improvement.”
Despite advancements, some procedures still pose challenges for surgeons, such as cases associated with diseases and complex injuries like rotator cuff and meniscus repairs.
Two companies that BONEZONE spoke with noted the challenges of treating the meniscus.
Ceterix Orthopaedics launched the NovoStitch® Plus Meniscal Repair System in 2015, which enables placement of a circumferential compression stitch around the meniscus. The system incorporates a pre-loaded suture implant, intended to ease use and cut the number of procedure steps by more than half.
John McCutcheon, President and CEO of Ceterix, emphasizes the importance of repairing the meniscus, rather than performing a meniscectomy, which he notes is under scrutiny as a treatment for meniscus repair.
McCutcheon is seeing surgeons push to do repairs for more types of injuries that they used to think were irreparable, like radial tears.
“More and more surgeons say, ‘Look, we’ve got to repair everything,’ ” McCutcheon says. “The data supports what we’re doing. More data is coming out that a meniscectomy is not a good thing—payors and providers are paying attention. All of the literature and data on repairs shows that [repairing the meniscus] prevents arthritis later and that it’s the right thing to do, so that’s been good for us.”