The hip replacement market is beginning to recover from the global recession and controversies surrounding metal-on-metal implants, with procedure volumes growing and patient confidence at an all-time high, says an analyst with research and consulting firm GlobalData.

A recent study published in The Bone & Joint Journal, which found that customer satisfaction is higher for hip replacement surgery on the UK’s National Health Service than for Apple’s iPhone, underlines the treatment’s resurgent popularity.

According to GlobalData, approximately 1.7 million hip replacement procedures, including partial, primary, revision and resurfacing, were performed across the globe in 2013, and this figure is expected to increase to 2.5 million by 2020.

Linda Tian, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Medical Devices, says: “Hip replacement surgery has become one of the cheapest and most effective surgical treatments, due to the sheer volume of procedures being performed.

“It has evolved from a surgery that was used only as a last resort for elderly patients to one that is now commonly performed on younger and active patients, with very positive outcomes.”

GlobalData states that procedure volumes have enjoyed sustained growth over the last decade, thanks to the rising prevalence of osteoarthritis, increased patient awareness, and the industry’s extensive marketing efforts.

Tian continues: “Although lawsuits relating to all-metal hip implants slowed down the volume growth to some degree in the mid-2000s, the procedure itself is well-established and great technological advances will catalyze further adoption by patients over the coming years.”

However, the analyst is cautious that a full recovery may take some time, given the lingering pricing pressure due to hospital consolidation, expansion of buying groups, and cutbacks in reimbursement.

“Manufacturers face the new challenge of maintaining profits while producing low-cost product portfolios. Shifting focus towards premium-priced advanced technologies is a potential avenue for growth, and several players are already advocating new vitamin E-enhanced polyethylene acetabular liners in a bid to maintain competitive edges,” Tian concludes.