The small joint and extremities reconstruction market is growing faster than the hip and knee replacement market. New advanced technologies will help this specialty market grow at a CAGR of about 9 percent over the next few years. Compared to replacement of large joints, small joint reconstruction is a far less common procedure, although the devices have been around for the last few decades. A steady stream of innovations, many developed by the surgeons themselves, underscores the urgent need to meet growing patient demand.
The US and Europe account for the predominant share of the small joints replacement market. Emerging healthcare markets are currently focused on large joint replacements, although small joint procedures will soon catch up.
Key trends and characteristics in this market include:
Joint diseases will continue being the leading cause of disability in older people. Growth of this patient base is accelerating as populations around the world age, and rates of chronic inflammatory diseases, osteoarthritis and obesity soar.
Despite the high complication rate, clinical studies from all over the world show that arthroplasty can be used to successfully treat degenerative diseases and repetitive motion injuries caused by sports and occupational tasks.
Patient demands are also changing with increasing life expectancy. People with end-stage arthritis are looking for treatment alternatives to arthrodesis that restore mobility and offer a greater quality of life.
Shoulder replacement or arthroplasty devices are the most common type of small joint replacements, accounting for almost three quarters of the $917million market in 2011.
Elbow and ankle replacements offer high growth potential due to high rates of injury. There are only a handful of ankle replacement devices leaving a wide open field for new entrants.
Extremities reconstruction, namely digits, comprises the smallest segment of this market, due in large part to procedural complexity.
The severe shortage of trained surgeons is a major restraint needing to be addressed.
More successful technologies are critical in clearing regulatory hurdles, improving reimbursement, and patient acceptance.
The market is dominated by well-established joint reconstruction specialists such as DePuy, Tornier, Zimmer and Biomet, closely followed by other orthopedic giants like Stryker, Smith and Nephew and Wright Medical. These companies compete fiercely for high-end products with highly reputed niche players such as Integra Life Sciences and Small Bone Innovations.