The survey, exclusive to MassDevice, is part of the Innovation Pulse, powered by MedPanel. It’s a quarterly survey of orthopedic surgeons, intended to provide a gauge of how customers view companies in the medical device industry and can only be found on MassDevice.com. The inaugural survey polled 62 orthopedic surgeons from practices across the country during the first quarter of 2011.
Stryker was voted the most innovative company in the hip market, with 29 percent of respondents voting for the Kalamazoo, Mich.-based medical device company. Stryker also received the second most votes as the most innovative company in the knee market.
“Stryker will not go along with the crowd and keeps producing a safe product,” one surgeon respondent said. “That is innovation that protects both physician and patient.”
Zimmer also received high marks, garnering laurels as the most innovative company in knees, with 21 percent of the vote, and the second most votes in hips, with 21 percent.
“Zimmer has a long track record with knees with variability, longevity, and now incorporating custom aspects,” one surgeon told MedPanel.
The first quarterly Innovation Pulse survey also revealed low marks for Wright Medical, Biomet and Smith & Nephew when it comes to innovation in the hip and knee spaces.
Patrick Treacy, vice president and general manager of Stryker’s knee reconstruction unit, told MassDevice that the company is happy to be perceived as innovative by its customers, but that actually being an innovative company was more important.
“We’re very proud of what our knee business has done,” Treacy said. “What we strive for is to continue to drive the knee lifecycle through innovation and training, instrument design, better tools to implant, along with designs and materials of the implant itself.”
“Twenty years ago a total knee was intended to allow Grandma to get around the flat pain-free and get from the couch to the kitchen. The demands we see today far exceed pain relief and mobility around the house, as we look to provide reconstructions that will allow them to get back to the activity that they really love,” he told us. “Until we can say the reconstruction will last forever, it will feel perfectly normal and the patient can do anything they want on it. We’re not finished.”
Being innovative in the knee and hip market is important with today’s customer, Treacy said, because the patients are getting younger and younger.
“The philosophy of when surgeons intervene is changing with new designs, and surgeons are more willing to operate then they were ten years ago,” he told us. “It used to be that your would wait until the last possible minute to do a joint. That’s a philosophy that’s been changing in the surgeon community.”
In 2010 Stryker reported $1.15 billion in hip sales, up slightly from $1.09 billion in 2009. During the same period, the company posted $1.3 billion in knee sales, compared to $1.25 billion during the same period the previous years.
Zimmer posted more than $1.1 billion in knee products during 2010, essentially flat compared to $1.09 billion during the same period last year. The company’s hip business came in at $589.7 million during the year, compared to $565 million in 2009.