How bright does the future of Smart Implants look like?

Smart implants are implantable healthcare devices that have both therapeutic & diagnostic functionalities. When used as diagnostics, they provide real-time information about the body's inside environment using the sensors embedded in them. It, in turn, can help healthcare professionals tailor treatments and detect adverse events earlier. Besides, integrating these devices into daily clinical practice can provide significant benefits to the healthcare system, such as reduced recovery times, fewer lost work days post-surgery, and less number of readmissions, and fewer complications.

With rapid technological advancements in the healthcare sector and the mounting demand for providing pervasive & personalized medical care to patients, a recent study by MarkNtel Advisors has projected around 8.62% CAGR for the Global Smart Implants Market during 2022-27. Additionally, the combination of minimally invasive techniques and smart implants has created a scope for treating several diseases, monitoring chronic conditions in real time, and providing patient-centric care.

Why are Orthopedic Implants so Popular?

The rising orthopedic surgeries worldwide have surged the demand for orthopedic implants, as they offer benefits like comprehensive blood management, multimodal pain management, & post-operative care management, which can assist in the effective treatment of ortho-related ailments. Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most common musculoskeletal pathologies globally, and patients who fail conventional therapeutics undergo TKA (Total Knee Arthroplasty), i.e., considered the gold-standard treatment.

Hence, given the surging prevalence of TKA & total hip arthroplasty, the pool of smart implant receivers is expected to surge significantly in the coming years. Besides, orthopedic implants also find application in knee  & hip arthroplasties, early osteolysis & dislocation detection, infection detection, spine fusion, fracture fixation, fracture healing measurement, bone ingrowth measurement, etc.

On the other hand, smart implants are made of several materials, including metal, cobalt, titanium, bone cement, alloy, polyethylene, & silicone, among others. However, titanium is the most prominent one, owing to its excellent biocompatibility, i.e., due to the formation of a stable oxide layer on the surface, coupled with its bio-inert & bio-tolerant properties.

Nevertheless, with the rising prevalence of hip replacement surgeries, polyethylene is another bio-inert material gaining significant traction worldwide since it can notably lower the risk of revision surgery requirements after hip replacements.

Conclusion

With benefits like efficient patient data mining & management, remote disease monitoring & progression, drug adherence, etc., smart implants have immense potential in personalized & precision medicine. However, there exist a few challenges to its scalability in some countries with poor infrastructure, cultural barriers, legal & health policy issues, resistance by regulatory bodies, inadequate funding, data privacy concerns, and lack of trained healthcare professionals.

Hence, there is a dire need for such countries to curate strategies in order to strengthen the current landscape of implant services by substantial investments, public-private partnerships, proper training of healthcare staff, encouraging community engagement, and creating regulatory policies for these devices in healthcare settings, which, consequently, would generate remunerative prospects for the leading companies in the smart implants industry in the years to come.

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