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MedTech DiveOrthopedics Leaders Watch Procedure Backlog, New Technologies in 2024

Executives from J&J, Medtronic, and Smith & Nephew, along with orthopedic surgeons, anticipate a shift towards more outpatient procedures. However, they also highlight ongoing concerns regarding pricing strategies and the potential continuation of procedure backlogs within the orthopedics sector.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the orthopedics sector is bracing for a year of recalibration and innovation. As the dust begins to settle, industry leaders and healthcare providers are closely monitoring shifts in surgical backlogs, pricing pressures, and the integration of cutting-edge technologies. This article encapsulates the collective insights and expectations of orthopedics executives and surgeons for 2024, highlighting critical trends that will shape patient care and industry dynamics.

Key Points:

  1. Procedure Backlogs Diminishing: Initial pandemic-induced delays in elective orthopedic surgeries created a significant patient backlog, driving demand for knee and hip replacements. However, leaders like Zimmer CEO Ivan Tornos and orthopedic surgeon Michael Ast observe a slowdown in this trend, with companies not counting on backlogs for future growth forecasts.
  2. Pricing Pressures Persist: Despite some stabilization in freight expenses and supply chain issues, inflation continues to impact device pricing. Companies are adjusting their strategies to balance cost increases with provider affordability, amid insurer pressures and budget constraints in hospitals.
  3. Technological Innovations on the Rise: The adoption of surgical robots and personalized care technologies, such as sensor-equipped knee implants by Canary Medical and Zimmer, is expanding. These innovations aim to improve surgical outcomes and patient recovery monitoring, with potential for preoperative and postoperative integrations.
  4. Shift to Outpatient Procedures: A significant trend towards outpatient hip and knee replacements is noted, driven by the pandemic and changes in Medicare payment policies. This shift is expected to continue, with a focus on ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) for a larger portion of orthopedic procedures.
  5. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Activity in Spine Sector: The spine market has seen notable M&A activity, with companies like Globus Medical and Nuvasive leading the charge. This consolidation reflects a strategic push towards offering comprehensive technological ecosystems and gaining market stability.

In 2019, before the pandemic, the global market for orthopedic surgical robots was valued at approximately $823 million. The Global Surgical Robotic Systems Market size is expected to reach $13.3 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 21% CAGR during the forecast period. This growth trajectory underscores the increasing reliance on robotic assistance for precision in orthopedic surgeries.

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