Written by: Josh Sandberg
Recently, we were able to sit down with Mark Throdahl, CEO of Orthopediatrics, to talk about what they have been doing up there in the Orthopedic capital of the world. We learned a lot and we are very excited to convey a story about an Orthopedic company that hasn’t lost sight of the fact that we are in this business to help people while developing a good, profitable business.
Mark Throdahl is an accomplished industry veteran. He has held prominent senior management roles at companies like Mallinckrodt, Becton Dickinson, Consort Medical and Zimmer. He has also served many companies as a consultant. That’s how he originally came in contact with one of the original founders of Orthopediatrics, Nick Deeter. Mark was introduced to the technology at the AAOS meeting 4 years ago. Shortly after introductions, his leadership ability was recognized and he was asked to be a member of the Board of Directors. Approximately a year later, the Board made a move to insert Mark as the company’s CEO, where he has served for the past 3 years.
We asked Mark what makes Orthopediatrics different than the other Orthopedic Implant manufacturers. “We don’t have an abstract mission, we have a cause,” said Throdahl. “We are here to improve the lives of children with orthopedic conditions. Our team believes in that emotionally.” He also told us that unlike other orthopedic companies, Orthopediatrics is the only company that has a Chief Medical Officer that is a pediatric surgeon. “Pediatric surgeons have long been bypassed by adult ortho companies. The only space that gets any exposure is with spine companies that have products to help correct Scoliosis. We are the first group to engage with this group of surgeons directly” Throdahl added.
In our humble opinion, it is amazing it has taken so long for a company to put together a business model to help develop products specifically for children. The bone structure is dramatically different than adults and larger instrumentation sets can impact the surgeon’s ability to gain proper access. Growth plates in children’s bones make some surgeries impossible to use modified, small stature implants.
“We just launched our 16th surgical system and our 1st in the area of sports medicine. ACL injuries in children have become an increasing issue with Soccer and Football being the main culprits.” Throdahl shared. “We have created the first anatomically correct ACL system that is secured above the growth plate in the tibia and below the growth plate in the femur.”
We were astounded to find out that in our conversation that the current treatment protocol for a 10 year old with an ACL tear is to brace them and not operate until they are skeletally mature (which isn’t until they are 16 or older). Throdahl added, “A growth plate isn’t closed until it’s closed. High School does not mean skeletally mature.”
It is clear to us that Orthopediatrics has developed superior products for a severely underserved market. The amazing thing, though, is that they put their money where their hearts are. As Mr. Throdahl mentioned early in our interview, that they are a company with a cause, Orthopediatrics are significant sponsors of the following organizations.
- Pediatric Orthopedic Soceity of North America (POSNA) – Double Diamond
- European Paediatric Orthopedic Society (EPOS) – Gold Sponsor
- International Pediatric Orthopaedic Symposium – Double Diamond
- American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) – Leading sponsor
“If Medtronic gave the same percentage of sales in donations that we do, they would be donating $300 Million per year.” Throdahl stated.
It is great to see that there is a company among the giants, that has taken the responsibility to serve an severely neglected market, and does so with exceptional, anatomically accurate implants and instrumentation as well as a giving heart that directly affects children around the world. To me, that sounds like a winning recipe and we hope, for the sake of these children with orthopedic related issues, that Orthopediatrics is able to leverage the global sales and distribution network (serving 28 countries) they have created to get these products to those that need them around the world.