Innovation in the spinal surgery market is occurring more and more as a result of constant improvements to existing technologies, with additional line extensions to existing portfolios and the addition of enabling technologies as key factors in improving the quality of surgery. Key innovations include new disruptive technologies, improvements to pre-existing devices with new properties and enabling technologies that are currently used to enhance product or surgeon capabilities.
There are several barriers to adoption in the early phases of a new technology. Firstly, products require viable clinical data, health economic benefits and proven benefits to patients and surgical technique, requiring significant time and financial investment. Therefore a commitment to educate surgeons on how the product can improve the quality of patient care, while demonstrating that a new approach is better than the tried and tested methods, is crucial to successfully launch a new product to market.
The spinal implant market and treatment offerings are more exciting than ever, with many new players entering the market. The rise of caseloads in ASC's is positively benefiting emerging players, who would typically have significant market access challenges due to challenging contract negotiations in GPOs and IDNs that are often dominated by the multinationals.
Factors such as high prevalence rate and growing awareness as a main driver of demand. I wanted to delve into the benefits and challenges of the changing spine market. Within the trends forecast for the industry, I highlight companies addressing these issues by focusing on data, diagnostics/pain intervention, robotic surgeries and implant technologies.
I’ve been keeping abreast of the latest trends in the spine industry and the potential impact that each trend has on the market. As healthcare moves slowly towards a technology-led model, these companies are leading the charge as to how we can improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and prevent the need for unnecessary procedures.
Technology has revealed what was previously unknown, pain mechanisms are being unlocked and the need for early intervention alongside a combination of surgery and rehab is fast becoming mainstream. Success with these methods will lead to life-changing improvements in spine care, a fascinating development for the market.
As focus grows on diagnostics and pain intervention across the industry, this becomes an emerging market in the spinal surgery market too. Companies such as Companion Spine are launching new technologies to address these issues, supporting rapid demand in this sector.
Companion Spine offers a portfolio of tools and technologies to identify the severity, location and nature of spinal disease, and provide solutions to treat these conditions with minimally invasive or non-invasive alternatives. The goal? To ensure patients maintain mobility and spinal function to support a full and healthy life. CEO, Eric Cloix, describes their offering as:
Dedicated to offering a full range of therapeutic solutions, in response to the whole range of pathologies involving the spine, from lumbar stenosis to degenerative disc disease, and for each degree of severity.”
Clinical studies, industry publications, and the commitment of market leaders indicate a tipping point in spine robotics. Pioneers are using robotics to reduce costs and improve quality of care, while driving down surgical risk. A growing number of patients are taking advantage of minimally invasive spinal procedures, patient outcomes are improved, productivity for surgeons and teams is increased.
Companies such as eCential Robotics and Accelus have created robotic systems that are more affordable, agile, accesible and adaptable. Introduction of open systems that can be used with any implant provide positive health economic benefits, leading to higher adoption rates in ASC's and Hospital Systems.
ECential's product, Surgivision means no additional pre-op imaging is required to enable the surgery. The unified system will manage intra-operative low-dose imaging and navigation.
On the day of surgery, eCential Robotics' unification of imaging and navigation in one product enables surgical staff to set up the system in just a few minutes before navigating.
Products such as this are a major milestone in the development of new microsurgery technologies for advanced indications like spinal fracture repair and disc replacement. Where previously Robotics were largely sold by the big multinationals, who could provide bundle agreements to mask the cost with other products thrown in, now the smaller companies seem to be finding their own solutions.
As a result of new tech and innovation, the ever-changing market landscape presents both challenges and opportunities for medical professionals. The focus on data and cost will continue to grow alongside a focus on better diagnostics and pain intervention.
In response, companies such as Neo Medical have developed a universal value-based surgical platform, designed to support improved patient outcomes at an overall lower cost - with a key focus on offering an environmentally friendly solution. This unique platform includes a proprietary Controlled-Fixation technology designed to enable a post-operative more anatomically neutral, balanced, and stable spine. This enables surgeons to limit stress overload on patients’ spines, potentially reducing risks of screw loosening, hardware failure, and eventually further reducing re-operation risks, whilst also improving overall patient outcomes.
Implant innovation is often a controversial topic in spine, with many viewing new implants as a mere adaptation of existing products. However, 3SPINE is different. Offering total joint replacement for the lumbar spine beyond spinal fusion, this company is looking to fundamentally change surgical techniques. Their MOTUS device replaces the joint itself, rather than part-replacement with methods such as fusion.
While there are lots of exciting new implants joining the market, 3SPINE are challenged with launching a product which requires surgeons to adopt an entirely new approach, something which could create a landmark shift in results for patients. This product has been in the pipeline for 20 years, with RWE studies ongoing, and promises to offer a “complete breakthrough”, with the ability to restore natural balance, maintain range of motion and preserve adjacent spinal levels.
Innovation in the spine landscape has seen an explosion in recent years, with more companies than ever contributing to the spike, be it with new implants, instrumentation, enabling technologies or treatment pathways. There’s no disputing the focus for many will remain with data and cost, optimising these to ensure the best technology is available to patients worldwide. As spine surgery occurs more often in ASC's, the technologies launched by smaller companies allow more relevant and accessible results for patients.
Are you interested in discussing any of these trends, products or technologies in some more detail with me? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a message at Daniel.Spencer@medical-cm.com or connect with me on LinkedIn to chat.
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