Posted in Orthopedics by Arundhati Parmar on May 16, 2016
Many believe that robot-assisted surgery will transform how surgery is done and it will be a boon for both patients and surgeons.
One person who begs to differ is Philipp Lang, CEO of orthopedics company ConforMIS. The Massachusetts public company makes customized knees for people who are looking to get their knees replaced. ConforMIS uses the patient’s MRI or CT scans to create an implant that is for that patient alone fulfilling the company’s “One Patient One Implant” tagline.
That makes the company different from other orthopedic companies, large and small, that uses off-the-shelf implants of various sizes that surgeons can choose from when performing a total knee replacement. Even in robot-assisted surgery, where much of the variation is eliminated from standard total knee arthroplasty, the implants used are not custom.
Robotic surgery in orthopedics is a “marketing gimmick” charged Lang, in an interview with MD+DI in early March at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Orlando where Stryker was showing off its Mako surgical robot. Lang added that the robot is merely an instrument that alters the surgical technique, but in terms of outcomes nothing can compare to the fit and function of a knee that is created based on an individual’s anatomy. [Since the interview, Lang has announced that he will resign as CEO but stay on until a successor is named. He will remain on ConforMIS’ board.]