According to Millennium Research Group (MRG) the market for hip and knee reconstruction will be driven by increasing patient acceptance of unicondylar knee implants and resurfacing hip implants that allow for selective bone resection in patients in their 40s and 50s, combined with demand deferred by the poor economy.

Significant attention is being directed to unicondylar knee and resurfacing hip implants, but also new technologies such as MAKO Surgical’s MAKOplasty and ConforMIS’s iTotal CR Knee Replacement system, which uses computer-assisted surgery to develop patient-specific, less invasive device designs.

Such patient-specific technology is a growing trend in large-joint arthroplasty. Larger companies such as Biomet and Stryker are now following suit in an effort to sustain competitiveness. In addition, continued direct-to-consumer advertising campaigns will increase patient awareness of new device designs and minimally invasive surgical techniques, prompting increased patient demand.

The advent of younger patients and the surge of deferred surgeries come on top of the long-term growth in demand stemming from increases in the aging and obese populations in the United States.

“After the lull caused by the economic crisis, growth in large-joint arthroplasty is rebounding,” says MRG Analyst Arun Jaganathan. “While these procedures are largely covered under private and public insurers, they still require substantial co-payments from the patient. These costs have led some patients to put off surgery. As the economy improves, however, there will be an increase in patient willingness to pay out-of-pocket expenses in order to relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis.”

Joint replacement is generally indicated for patients to treat pain associated with osteoarthritis after exhausting more conservative treatment options, such as bracing and analgesics. In 2010, approximately 60 percent of large-joint reconstruction implant procedures in the United States were performed on the knee.

Millennium Research Group’s US Markets for Large-Joint Reconstructive Implants 2011 includes a breakdown of unit volumes, average selling prices, procedures, and market values for devices used in hip and knee reconstruction procedures.