Take a Knee
With the world’s largest orthopedic
firms releasing new technology, this
was the year of the knee during the
recent AAOS annual meeting.
Christopher Delporte • Editorial Director
Michael Barbella • Managing Editor
The big takeaway from this year’s annual meet- ing of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) was knees, knees and more
knees. Three of the biggest orthopedic players had
offerings on the table—Johnson & Johnson had its
Attune knee system (marketed by JNJ’s DePuy Synthes Companies); Zimmer introduced its Persona
knee; and Smith and Nephew plc showcased its
Journey II bi-cruciate stabilized knee replacement.
It was the year of the knee.
Why knees? Leerink Swann industry analyst
Richard Newitter told Orthopedic Design & Technology
(ODT) that during the past several academy meetings,
hips have been a big focus. But, of course, innovation
comes in waves. And because orthopedic products take
years to make their way to market and direct competition
is a healthy market driver, companies tend to shift together
when it comes to the technology they focus on.
“We haven’t seen new knees from those companies in several
years,” Newitter said. But during those years, the knee technology
debuted at AAOS has been incubating in the development stage.“The
biggest innovations in knees have largely been around the instrumentation. We saw patient-specific instruments launching in the last several years,
but that was the most that we saw in manufacturers’product launch initiatives
in knees. This year we have more full products launches—more complete packages and new designs in implant.”
ODT spoke with a number of executives from firms with new knee offerings. The
following reports detail our findings by company.
Photo of the Attune knee implant
(above) courtesy of DePuy Synthes
DePuy Synthes Revamps Approach to New Knee Design
Many of the changes in the medical device industry are incremental, iterative in nature. They
happen slowly over time. Small changes are made as knowledge is gained about how devices
work in practice, and then companies tweak designs year after year. That’s one of the numerous ways the medical device industry distinguishes itself from its cousins in the pharmaceutical
arena—fewer blockbusters but more consistent, ongoing new product development and launches.
That’s all well and good, unless you’re on the team involved in new knee product development in
54 • ODT