According to a recent research report by Persistence Market Research (PMR), the global orthopedic trauma fixation devices market is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 7.2% between 2014 and 2020.
A severe musculoskeletal injury – one that relates to the bones, soft tissue or joints – can often be incapacitating. In medical parlance, this is referred to as an ‘orthopedic trauma’. A special branch of surgery is dedicated to fixing orthopedic trauma, and corrective remedies are usually offered using fixation devices – a wider term for a group of components that includes intramedullary (IM) nails, IM screws, as well as plate and screw systems. These devices are fixed at the desired location using complex surgical procedures.
Trend Alert: Metals Make Way for Bioabsorbable Materials in Orthopedic Trauma Fixation Devices
For several decades now, rigid orthopedic trauma fixation devices have been made using metals such as titanium, Vitallium, and stainless steel. However, metals have their own set of drawbacks. For instance, stainless steel is known to produce radiological scatter and can also prove corrosive in the long run, potentially posing a risk to patient health. Vitallium presents several advantages over conventional metal fixation devices, but its high price remains its greatest disadvantage. Titanium, too, is known to have its own set of biocompatibility issues, which have been brought into the spotlight following reports about toxicity.
Over the last decade, the development of orthopedic trauma fixation devices using biomaterials has changed the material mix in this industry. Surgeons have been encouraged to use bioabsorbable trauma fixation devices in orthopedic as well as cranomaxillofacial surgeries. Some commonly used bioabsorbable materials are polyglycolic acid polymers and polylactic acid.
Fixation devices made using bioabsorbable materials carry out the same functions as those of their metallic counterparts. However, unlike metallic orthopedic trauma fixation devices, the bioabsorbable ones have certain advantages, which are as follows:
- Bioabsorbable orthopedic trauma fixation devices are entirely absorbed by the body after the fracture or injury has stabilized and healed.
- With this, the need for a separate fixation device removal surgery is eliminated, saving the patient considerable agony, time and money.
- Furthermore, orthopedic trauma devices made using bioabsorbable devices have been in the development phase long enough to offer viable solutions for fracture stabilization, bone fusions/grafts, ligament reattachment, osteotomies, meniscal tears and more.
- Metallic implants that remained in the body for a long time caused problems such as interference with nerves, tendons or a developing skeleton – the latter being especially worrisome in pediatric surgeries. But bioabsorbable orthopedic trauma fixation devices present no such concerns.
- Biomaterials, owing to their non-metallic composition, do not cause radiation scatter and ease the process of clinical imaging during a patient’s follow-up visits to the clinic.
- Bioabsorbable devices are low on risks associated with post-operative infections and stress shielding.
A PMR market research shows that internal fixators report more sales as compared to external fixators worldwide. The global market for internal fixators will register a 6.8% growth rate from 2014 through 2020. With internal fixators increasingly being available in bioabsorbable materials, the market for such devices is poised to show much potential for growth.