ConforMIS Introduces Third Implant for Arthritic Knees

ConforMIS, an orthopedic device maker in Burlington, MA, said today it is introducing the third product in its line of implants designed to make knee surgery less invasive. Made to order for each patient based on data from CT or MRI scans; these implants replace only the areas of the knee showing signs of osteoarthritis. By sticking to the affected areas, the surgeon can spare ligament and bone that would be cut in conventional knee surgery, which ought to help preserve the joint’s range of motion, ConforMIS CEO Philipp Lang explained when Rebecca profiled the company and its minimally invasive strategy back in November.

As probably anybody who watches or likes to play sports knows, knee surgery is pretty common. About 500,000 to 600,000 people every year in the U.S. end up getting the most serious form of surgery, total knee replacement. The number will continue to grow as the Baby Boomers keep getting older. ConforMIS’s latest implant, called the iDuo, could provide an alternative to full-blown surgery for patients with arthritis in just two of the knee’s three compartments; an implant that the company launched in February, called the iUni, is designed for patients with damage in just one compartment. One-third to one-half of patients who currently undergo total knee replacement only have arthritis in one or two compartments, said Jong Lee, senior vice president of marketing, in an e-mail.

Interestingly, ConforMIS has its eye on Generation X every bit as much as the Boomers. Since knee replacements don’t last forever, surgeons are looking for alternatives for younger patients. “The iDuo provides a less invasive alternative for young and active patients that maintains their ability to move to a total knee (replacement) in the future if necessary,” said CEO Lang in a statement.

ConforMIS doesn’t disclose how many salespeople will be pitching the iDuo, although the company has a “rapidly expanding direct salesforce as well as distributors” who will carry the product, Lee says. If they end up capturing any significant percentage of the $5 billion market for knee replacements, I’m pretty sure we’ll hear a lot more news from them.

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