While marketing drivers will continue to enhance the existing growth trend in the global computer-assisted devices space, computer-assisted and robotic surgery is expected to remain the reserve of top-tier hospitals, mostly in developed countries, says analysis from research and consulting firm GlobalData.

The company’s report states that the rising utilization of robotic surgeries will have a minimal impact on the orthopedic power tools market, which is forecast to be worth almost $1.7 billion by 2020. The cost-effectiveness of robotic devices for high-volume surgeries, such as large joint reconstruction and spinal fusion, remains to be justified.

Furthermore, GlobalData says that the current economic climate and reimbursement hindrance for computer-assisted joint replacements have resulted in many hospitals feeling reluctant to embrace these modern technologies, as they see a long delay for the equipment to recoup the extensive capital output.

Linda Tian, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Orthopedic Devices, explains, “Computer-assisted navigation provides an alternative method to improving precision in alignment, and has been recognized as a useful technique in patients with bone deformity.

“While navigation has earned increased enthusiasm from the orthopedic community over the past few years, with applications now evolving for use in hips and knees with less deformity in routine joint replacement surgeries, cost-effectiveness remains a significant barrier to the widespread adoption of these devices.”

Alongside financial considerations, key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData expressed concerns that computer navigation tends to lengthen operation times and does not necessarily promise statistically significant clinical superiority.

Tian continues, “Although the surgical protocol of robotic-assisted procedures is well-established, the technology has been slow to gain general acceptance. As with computer-assisted devices, the lingering issue is the cost of robotic systems, as orthopedic surgeons often question whether the clinical benefits offered by this equipment can outweigh the extra expenditure.”