OrthAlign’s Handheld Nav System Hits 300,000 Case Milestone

7-11-2023 – With this milestone, OrthAlign, Inc. is indisputably in the top ranks of global surgical navigation suppliers—standing toe to toe, if not in fact leading, Stryker, Zimmer and DePuy.

In the OR, you can never be too “efficient” or “intuitive.” OrthAlign, a handheld navigation technology from Aliso Viejo, California-based has hit those marks—roughly three hundred thousand times.

“The fact that OrthAlign has been used in 300,000 surgeries worldwide is a testament to the data-backed accuracy of our platform,” said company’s Vice President of Marketing Nic Aldrich to OTW. “Since OrthAlign was formed nearly 13 years ago, it has been featured in over 25 peer-reviewed publications with strong clinical results.”

Aldrich and the OrthAlign team have made—and kept—a commitment to quality and delivering clinical value. “We are driven by the belief that everyone deserves exceptional healthcare, and we’re committed to making empowering technologies accessible to all. We continue to focus on developing technology that is accurate, easy-to-use, efficient, and cost-effective.”

The company is indeed hearing from surgeons that Lantern is providing them with highly accurate component positioning for total, partial, and revision knee surgeries. In addition, the 7-ounce device, a single-use disposable unit, easily integrates into your existing OR workflow, with no extra time, equipment, or processes required.

“Our engineers crafted something that is brilliant in its simplicity and requires no additional work or planning on the part of the surgeon,” Aldrich told OTW. “Surgeons are often contending with multiple techs, changing staffs, different implant systems, etc., and they are relieved to find that the Lantern system brings ease of use to the table in a way that’s very similar to manual joint instrumentation.”

“With the market trending towards a massive technology uptake, we’re getting closer to ‘crossing the chasm’ and mass market adoption,” says Aldrich. “The needs of the early market versus the mass market are vastly different. The early market is far more willing to accept changes in workflow and potential software glitches. As for the mass market, it is all about efficiency-related metrics.”

Noting that the learning curve with a new technology can add tension to the OR, Aldrich made the point that Lantern’s straightforward system is driving market adoption and as the numbers show, leadership.

“We’re no longer talking about selling robots—we are ‘placing’ robots.”

Robotic and navigation assisted surgery is no longer the province of early adopters. Moving from early adopters to your everyday orthopedic surgeons requires, explained Aldrich, a mix of navigation, robotic, and other enabling technologies.

So, when you think about deploying technology programs across entire facilities or healthcare systems, the big robot, plus a handheld navigation system like Lantern allow you to deliver technology in every case. Handheld nav and robots are not only compatible, but really the requirement for mass market adoption. OrthAlign fills the technology gap in a busy hospital like, for example, one of OrthAlign’s major customers—the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

“We firmly believe that our product is that mass market solution that’s moves market adoption rates from 20 or 30% to 40, 50, 60% and beyond.”

Tailoring Navigation to the Surgeon, Not Vice Versa

Orthopedic surgeons are notoriously, classically, thankfully conservative. They need proof before they leap. While the literature has clearly demonstrated that surgical navigation improves outcomes, 300,000 cases is a powerful proof point.

“With 300,000 cases worth of clinical history, it’s clear that our system’s accelerometers and gyroscopes are resulting in improvements in patient metrics such as blood loss and accuracy of component alignment—which can have an impact on patient satisfaction and revision rates,” notes Aldrich.

Fitting INTO Work Flow, Not Bending Work Flow to the System

Nic Aldrich: “Gone are the days when the discussion is centered around, ‘My product can get one millimeter or degree closer, etc.’”

“What you’re now hearing from orthopedic companies is ‘Mine is smaller, it fits into your existing workflow it’s cost-effective, and you can rent or finance mine.’ Those are the new metrics,” explains Aldrich, OrthAlign checks all these boxes and is why we believe it is the product to make technology the standard of care in joint replacements.

“Surgeons operate in a variety of environments,” explains Aldrich. “Wherever the surgeon works, we deliver more precise alignment as well as ease-of-use and low cost. Surgeons might not have access to the same capital equipment at their hospitals or ambulatory surgery center.”

“For every surgeon, we also deliver accessibility. With no capital equipment, no pre op images and a minimal learning curve, Lantern can be used taken to even remote environments with low joint volumes.  This is where Lantern shines.”

Aldrich says that he thinks of the ASC [ambulatory surgery centers] as a sort of the “new technology battleground” where efficiency and economics have become the top priorities. “Surgeons are now accustomed to looking closer at the business side of things and prioritizing economics in their decision-making process. Our single use disposable technology is designed for ‘any surgeon, any implant, any facility, at any time’, which makes us the ideal match for any ASC.”

HSS: Home to 16,000 Case and Counting

To date, surgeons at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York have performed more than 16,000 cases with OrthAlign’s handheld navigation systems. “We have over 26 orthopaedic surgeons using our technology there,” says Aldrich. “We aren’t the world’s biggest total joint company and yet we have a disproportionate market share in one of the premier teaching institutions on the planet. This shows the stickiness and the value that our technology brings to these sophisticated surgeons.”

As for the step-by-step of what the surgeons are doing, Aldrich notes, “The surgical team opens the box containing the single-use disposable Lantern, all of which is controlled by the surgeon inside the sterile field. Because it has a similar feel to manual instrumentation, the surgical staff feels very comfortable with the technology and the space.”

“I liken it to hanging artwork. Let’s say you and your spouse are trying to hang a painting and agree on at what point it is level. You can sit there and argue all day and never really know—or you can use technology. So that is what we are putting in the hands of the surgeon.”

Follow the Lantern

“Looking at the U.S. total knee market,” says Aldrich, “there are roughly 800,000 to 1 million total knee surgeries per year. In 2023, we will do nearly 50,000 cases in the U.S., with most of those being knee procedures. This means that 5-6% of all total knees are being done with OrthAlign.”

“Approximately 30% of total knees are done with technology and 6% are done with OrthAlign. We’re a good 25% market share player in technology-assisted total knee surgery. As the market continues to expand, we expect to continue to grow with it. We are the solution to bringing technology to the mass market and believe that with Lantern we will command a bigger piece of the pie.”

What’s next for handheld navigation in large joints?

The hip technology space is relatively crowded likely because there is no standout solution. Next up for us is to marry the ease-of-use of Lantern knee with the clinical benefits of our hip technology. We see this as a key business driver. We’re also taking a hard look at the revision space,” says Aldrich. “Our Lantern gap balancing application allowed us to move into this arena and we will look to expand on that.”

As for sales, we will continue to see those 30% growth figures as we expand our portfolio and drive market adoption for technology. We see a very complementary relationship with Lantern and robots. “The big four suppliers of robotics are, in fact, our distributors. Our reps are very successful at selling Lantern alongside the big 4’s robots. As the market pushes to provide all patients with the benefits of technology, we see that having a portfolio of technology will get us to a higher standard of care, sooner.”

“Surgeons want a tool like Lantern. They don’t need a sledgehammer to hang a painting and tap a nail into the wall, right? High volume joint surgeons want technology that is simple and efficient, and Lantern delivers that. A simple hammer and a laser level work most of the time.”

Lantern: Lighting the path forward©

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