By: 30 March 2023
What does the global population ageing trend mean for the orthopaedic devices market growth?

With modern medicine allowing people to live longer lives, the growing phenomenon of population aging is creating a notable growth impetus in the orthopaedic devices market.

According to WHO estimates, 1 out of 6 people worldwide, or approximately 1.4 billion individuals, would be aged 60 years or above by 2030. Such fundamental shifts in the global population matrix are expected to create far-reaching ripple effects on global industries, especially the field of healthcare. 

As population aging becomes more apparent, age-related complex health states, commonly called, geriatric syndromes, are becoming more prevalent. This phenomenon is more pronounced with aging-driven musculoskeletal conditions and their associated functional limitations. In fact, recent WHO figures show that almost 1.71 billion people are currently living with musculoskeletal conditions worldwide, fostering the demand for orthopedic procedures.  

Meanwhile, the industry is also pegged to foresee a strong demand from individuals that were affected by COVID-19 as orthopedic issues were one of the common complications of the disease.  

According to a Global Market Insights Inc., report, the global orthopaedic devices market is likely to surpass revenues of USD 73 billion by 2032. 


Long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the patient population 

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on several industries, forcing several to make monumental corrections to their growth forecasts. However, while many industries are recuperating from the economic impact in a relatively quick manner, the same cannot be said for the long-lasting health issues the pandemic has left in its wake. COVID-19 and its health implications are expected to have a profound influence on the medical needs of this generation over the coming years. 

With respect to orthopaedic devices specifically, COVID-19 is likely to spur a strong product demand as a result of the musculoskeletal manifestations of SARS-CoV-2. A recent study published on Medical Science journal, Cureus, has found that COVID-19 can cause conditions such as arthralgias, myalgias, neuropathies, myopathies, and joint and bone damage among patients. 


Rise of AI and robotics-aided surgical procedures 

While the practice of robotics-assisted surgery has been around for some time, the complexity of the procedures they can perform has grown monumentally over the years. Many orthopedic device firms are making innovations towards robot-assisted surgery, developing robots that can assist surgeons to perform surgeries on the spine, knees, hips, and shoulders. 

Back in 2021, the DePuy Synthes division of Johnson & Johnson received US FDA clearance forVelys joint reconstruction system, its novel robotics-assisted orthopedic surgical platform to perform total knee replacement procedures. The platform, also designed to perform shoulder and hip procedures, can work with the firm’s Attune knee implant.  

According to Johnson & Johnson, the previous generation of surgical robots has only managed to proliferate into 5%-10% of the key orthopaedic segments worldwide. This leaves a sizable opportunity for integrated robotic as well as digital surgery technology in the market. 


Growing demand for knee and hip replacement surgeries in Europe 

Knee and hip replacement procedures are among the most frequently performed as well as effective surgeries across the globe, with osteoarthritis being the prime culprit behind them. According to the WHO, over 10% of men and approximately 18% of women aged 60 years and above suffer from symptomatic osteoarthritis, including severe and moderate forms of the ailment.  

The Global RA Network estimates that arthritis is one of the most common health challenges faced by the current global population, impacting more than 350 million individuals and being a leading factor behind disability.  

While aging is regarded as the leading factor behind the disease, an often overlooked factor is the regional spectrum. With respect to the region, Europe is regarded as a market that performs the highest number of knee and hip replacement procedures in the world. According to the OCED, hip, and knee replacement rates have, on average, increased by 22% and 35% respectively between 2009 and 2019. A majority of this trend has been observed in European countries, with Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Finland leading the charge. 


Increasing prominence of medical tourism in Asia 

Over the last decade, countries across Asia, particularly India, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand have gained a reputation for delivering high-quality medical care service at significantly more affordable rates to medical tourists. Patients from affluent countries, with high healthcare costs, find it more affordable to travel to one of these countries to get medical procedures done.  

For instance, an individual from the UK or the US can get a total knee replacement procedure done for approximately USD 3,500 – USD 9,000 in India. The cost is significantly lower than the USD 15,000 – USD 21,000 or the USD 49,000 it would cost them in the UK and the US respectively. 

According to India’s Ministry of Tourism, the country witnessed more than 186,644 FTAs (Foreign Tourist Arrivals) in 2020 for medical purposes, accounting for approximately 7% of the overall FTAs. The country has plans to establish itself as the world’s leading medical tourism destination, growing its revenues three-fold to $13 billion within the coming 4 years. In fact, the Indian government proposed a USD 28.7 billion outlay for health and well-being in 2022, which was approximately 137% higher than the budget outlay for 2021. 


Final thoughts: 

All in all, given the growing momentum of the global population aging trend, the market is projected to foresee a sizable growth in its patient pool in the coming years. With increasing innovations in medical technologies and investments in healthcare facilities, the industry is likely to be more than capable to handle the expanded patient pool in the future.