Stryker’s success with its Mako robot-assisted surgery platform has other orthopedic device companies hastening to enter the space. The big question is whether long-term outcomes will justify the expensive technology.More than five years after spending $1.7 billion to acquire Mako Surgical, Stryker is leading the way 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 a knee surgery devices and implants market that was previously static, according to SVB Leerink analyst Richard Newitter.
“We’ve never seen any one 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 MassDevice’s sister site Medical Design & Outsourcing recently. “If you use a Stryker robot, you have to use the Stryker 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.
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 are in our camp,” Robert Cohen, VP of global R&D and CTO at Stryker Joint Replacement, told MDO.
Newitter, for one, is optimistic, and he thinks Stryker’s Mako so far is farthest along with best-in-class technology.
“My sense is we’re on to something here as an industry,” Newitter said.