Report Says US Arthroscopy Device Market Will Surpass $1 Billion by 2021

Medtech market intelligence company Millennium Research Group (MRG), reckons demand for arthroscopy procedures will grow steadily in the United States through 2021, supported by the ageing population and increasing obesity rates. With procedural growth will come growth in the associated devices.


It’s not exactly news that arthroscopy continues to grow and is likely to do so for many years to come. Elderly and obese populations are particularly prone to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, and more arthroscopic procedures will therefore be required to meet the needs of these patients as this patient population grows.

An increasing number of elderly individuals wish to maintain an active lifestyle, making them more likely to seek out treatments for osteoarthritis and other degenerative conditions. Although joint arthroplasty was a popular treatment for degenerated joints in the past, many patients now wish to avoid this procedure because it can be invasive and painful, and they will instead choose arthroscopic options, which are less invasive.

In a society demanding progressive treatments, yet faced with ongoing cost constraints, minimally invasive surgery fits like a glove as it results in faster recovery times, carries a lower risk of complications, reduced patient pain and lower costs for facilities because these procedures can often be performed on an outpatient basis.

In addition, the report says that as more surgeons become comfortable performing arthroscopic procedures, outcomes of procedures will improve and further encourage adoption.

Countering the growth drivers, MRG says procedural growth will be somewhat restricted by more stringent clinical guidelines. The report cites American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recently-issued clinical practice guidelines, which it says may adversely influence insurance providers when it comes to reimbursement of certain procedures. It gives hip arthroscopy as an example of a procedure that has been shown to lack sufficient clinical support and consequently may be denied reimbursement more frequently than was the case before the publication of the guidelines.

Underpinning much of the growth in arthroscopy though is the question of how many more things can be done inside the joints. Specifically, as biologics gain support in articular indications and can be shown to defer or obviate total joint procedures, arthroscopic joint treatment could see significant growth over the next decade.

We say

We’re not so sure about a few of the assumptions. Do we agree biologics could revolutionise the specialty? Yes. Do we see it being used in ever older and ever more obese patients? Well, not to any great extent. Arthroscopy’s not a diagnostic tool…at least it shouldn’t be, and if a joint needs to be scoped for restorative purposes it is already. Older, fatter people are already in the loop. The great hypothesis underpinning much of the information covered in MRG’s press release is that people are staying active for longer and as such will want arthroscopy vs open surgery. The problem with that notion is that articular cartilage degeneration to the extent that a joint or resurfacing is required isn’t suddenly going to be do-able using a scope. If your joint’s shot, it’s still a replacement job and unless biologics kick in that’ll be the case for a while.

The other questionable statement is that arthroscopy will grow in popularity as surgeons become more comfortable with the procedure. In our view that ship has sailed. Arthroscopy’s been through the skill learning curve a long time ago and there isn’t an army of soon-to-be adopters waiting to jump on board. They’re already on.

Nonetheless, some interesting assertions and an underpinning notion that folk will be able to do more stuff using minimally invasive approaches. The procedure base and consequent device market will no doubt grow exactly as predicted.

Company comments

“This market will also be supported by the increasing use of biologics in arthroscopic procedures,” said MRG Senior Analyst Lexie Code. “Biologics are used to promote healing and facilitate bone growth, which ultimately improves the success of many procedures. Clinical studies are currently examining the effectiveness of biologics, and if results are positive, the studies will support not only sales of these devices, but arthroscopy procedure volumes as well.”

The report

US Markets for Arthroscopy Devices 2013 Includes unit, procedure, average selling price and revenue information, along with market drivers and limiters and a competitive landscape for powered shaver disposables, radiofrequency probes, fluid management disposables, arthroscopes and hand instruments in the United States. Find out more here.

Source: Millennium Research Group