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hen it comes to the latest trends in orthopedics,
conversations run the gamut from the latest knee
replacement in the marketplace to the Zimmer/
Biomet consolidation and government mandates
such as ICD-10. These conversations primarily
focus on the sea change many feel coming not only in orthopedics,
but also in the overall healthcare industry.
“There are new and innovative products being introduced, but
the overwhelming theme is ‘Let’s see where healthcare is going ’
and ‘How do we plan and react to that?’ ” says Richard Conn,
M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Wesley Medical Center in Hattiesburg,
Mississippi, as well as an industry speaker and co-medical director
for Stryker Performance Solutions.
When it comes to industry advances, new products include a
series of innovative knee implants from various manufacturers.
Biomet has launched the Vanguard XP TKA system, a knee
replacement product that allows both cruciate ligaments to be
preserved. Biomet claims that this bi-cruciate retaining total knee
allows a more natural feel because the patient can keep the anterior
cruciate ligament, as well as the posterior cruciate ligament, which
traditionally would be removed for a knee replacement.
“The main pro of the Vanguard XP is that patients say that it feels
more natural, but this is difficult to quantify,” says Anne Preston,
DePuy Synthes also introduced a rotating platform option for
its Attune Knee, which is marketed as offering more mobility and
flexion. Smith & Nephew launched the Journey II CR Knee, a
posterior cruciate retaining knee that allows patients to keep the
posterior cruciate ligament and thus preserve more normal motion.
Stryker added the Triathlon Tritanium Knee System to its
offerings, providing a knee with a highly porous fixation surface
previously used only on Stryker’s hips.
“The Triathlon isn’t new and the Tritanium isn’t new, but by
combining the two, Stryker was able to launch an additional option
to its existing knee,” Preston says.
Robotics continues to get a lot of attention, especially with
Stryker’s fourth quarter 2013 acquisition of MAKO Surgical Corp.,
a pioneer in the advancement of robotic arm-assisted orthopedic
“How interest in robotics will translate into utilization has yet to
be seen, but certainly there was a lot of interest at the recent AAOS
[American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons] meeting around that
concept,” Conn says.
New Models for Service
The latest innovations are coinciding with a shift in how these
devices are supported in the hospital setting. A new “aligned ser-
vice model” is emerging as a cost-reduction solution. In an aligned
service model setting, the duties of a supplier representative are
being accomplished by members of the OR staff.
As Preston explains, “The approach, sometimes referred to as a
‘rep-less model,’ has OR staff trained to take over the role of device
company reps during routine surgical cases. On complicated cases,
they can seek help from participating suppliers or traditional im-
plant providers.” Implant Partners, Ortho Direct and S2 Interactive
are three suppliers that are actively working this new model in the
Another shift with economic overtones is the trend among com-
panies to partner with orthopedic surgeons—and not just for hips
and knees. “Orthopedic suppliers also want to have your shoulder
business, your trauma business and your small joint business,”
The relationship may include offering better prices on hips and
knees if the orthopedic surgeon also will utilize the company for
various other categories.
“Suppliers are taking the stance that they want to partner with
you,” Preston says, “and partner across the board.”
At the same time that suppliers are working to broaden product
offerings, the orthopedics industry is consolidating. Zimmer’s acqui-
sition of Biomet, on track to finalize the second quarter of 2015, has
created a raft of questions, according to Conn.
Hot Topics in
SOURCEBOOK CLINICAL CHECK-IN
Continued on page 28
26 The Source | Third Quarter 2014
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