Orchid exhibits at two U.S. surgeon-focused meetings annually, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) and North American Spine Society (NASS). With both events being cancelled in 2020, this fall was the first time many industry players were back together in the same space. Both events were smaller in size, with many companies choosing to delay involvement until next year. This provided an opportunity for companies to increase discussions around business-to-business partnering. Private equity firms and venture capitalists are seeking out who can support deal-making and operations partners, while contract manufacturers increased direct correspondence with customers.
As the market continues to grow and expand, robotics and navigation continued to reign as trending topics at both AAOS and NASS this year. Hospitals and care providers are looking for more cost-effective ways of getting reliable results. One way of achieving this is through robots, which can minimize the need for instrument re-processing. Another advantage of robots is consistency of outcome, particularly in cementless cases, where accuracy of re-section is critical. Robotic technology is also being driven as more minimally invasive techniques are adopted in spine.
As well as robotics and navigation, cementless options for total knee replacements are also trending. Cementless implants have a porous surface, allowing the bone to grow directly into the implant and eliminating the need for a surgeon to use bone cement during surgery. The biological fixation of cementless implants has been a standard for the hip market for many years, and knee implants are now heading in that direction. Until recently, the application of titanium porous coating on total knee femurs has been limited by access to technology. With emerging coating technology, titanium may be sprayed onto dissimilar materials, such as cobalt chrome knee implants.
Additionally, OEMs are reinventing constrained mobile bearings. Constrained mobile bearings, commonly referred to in the industry as dual-mobility, are used to improve stability and resist dislocation in both primary and revision total hip arthroplasties. Companies are considering markets where lifestyle requires a greater range of motion, which is enabled through dual-mobility hip systems.
As technology continues to advance, the spinal market specifically continues to quickly adopt new methods. Additive manufacturing technology is used to create titanium spinal implants with unique shapes and porous structures. The spine industry also re-explores former trends and seems to be re-discovering PEEK implants, allowing enhanced post-operative progress assessments for the patient. Given the nature of the spine market to quickly adopt technologies, it will take time to recognize the unique benefits of titanium printed devices compared to PEEK, coated devices.
While the events looked different this year than years prior, this year offered unique opportunities for businesses and customers alike. The most notable difference being a shift in business interaction from surgeons and customers to businesses and customers, as well as a shift in the dynamic of the dialogue.
This article was written by Allyson Licht who interviewed Orchid team members who attended AAOS and NASS.
Orchid Team at AAOS Orchid Team at NASS