Robot-assisted surgery

The researcher is leading the way of bringing robot-assisted surgery to the orthopedic space. The Kalamazoo, Mich. based orthopedic device giant has already placed more than 650 Mako robots around the world; with more than 76,900 knee and hip replacement procedures performed in 2018 and double-digit growth in installations expected in 2019. In the process, Stryker has also grabbed share in knee surgery devices; implants market that was previously static; according to SVB Leerink analyst Richard Newitter.
They have never seen anyone company engender market share swings in the order of magnitude Stryker has in the last three years, and a good chunk of it is about robotics,” Newitter told Medical Design & Outsourcing recently. “If you use a Stryker robot; you have to use the Stryker’s knee. It’s a Trojan horse.” Stryker’s big competitors Johnson & Johnson’s DePuy Synthes business, Zimmer Biomet and Smith & Nephew are taking notice; They’ve either launched or are preparing to launch their own robots.

The healthcare costs

There’s little long-term data, though, on whether a $1 million robot such as Stryker’s Mako improves outcomes and reduces overall healthcare costs. Stryker officials suspect the short-term benefits they’re seeing, such as improved readmission and reoperation rates, are a good sign. If you see patient satisfaction and less pain, that’s a good indicator. So all the right indicators that we look for as an industry is in our camp.

The robot’s haptic boundary prevents soft-tissue trauma, according to Cohen. He said Stryker has about 100 peer-reviewed publications on the Mako’s short-term benefits, including a reduction in post-operative pain; increased patient satisfaction, increased flexion, less opioid drug use; reduction in length of stay, and fewer readmissions due to complications from the procedure.

Outpatient surgery centers

Even as more knee replacement surgeries move from hospitals to outpatient surgery centers; Cohen thinks the Mako robot’s benefits will justify its price tag which company officials in the past have said was about $1 million. The majority of Mako robots are in hospitals, but they are going into outpatient centers. “Because the outcomes are going to get measured on Medicare databases; on joint registries, outpatient surgery centers have to perform equal or better than the hospital environment.
Stryker’s competitors, however, appear to see an opening with the shift toward outpatient. Perhaps there will demand more affordable robots. There are no blocks required. There’s no pinning required. They saw this as what the world actually needs. This is bed-mounted. It is not a huge device that sits on the floor.
It is not a criticism of robotics. It’s just acknowledging that there’s a better way to do it than robotics that’s more cost-effective,” Kohrs said. “It is all about writing new software. It’s all about different user information. About new applications,” he said. “They will get into the world of predictive analytics and the things that we never could’ve conceived of before without a robot.”