Stryker on steroids: How enabling technology will supercharge surgical robotics

How Penumbra’s smart-sucking algorithms and catheters speed up clot removal

What Abbott learned about COVID-19 and cardio devices

Genascence believes gene therapy can transform the treatment of knee osteoarthritis

What to expect in diabetes care in 2023

Incredible enabling technologies

The FDA has cleared or approved more than 500 devices enabled by artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning, and the list keeps getting longer.

Medtech AI is helping physicians diagnose, treat and monitor patients like never before. Sometimes the software works as a medical device all on its own. But the real fun starts when device developers pair software with other enabling technologies like robotics, miniaturization, 3D printing and advanced materials.

For example, take Stryker, the world’s largest orthopedics company. Two years ago, Stryker launched a digital, robotics and enabling technologies group focused on cutting-edge technologies. In this edition, group leader Robert Cohen discusses how his team is utilizing pioneering technologies in new ways across the business, including AI, 3D printing, and of course, surgical robotics.

And at Penumbra, Interventional President Sandra Lesenfants says her company’s intelligent algorithms are powering new aspiration catheter designs to clear blood clots more quickly and safely than competing devices. With three smart-sucking products launching this year, Penumbra predicts it will break $1 billion in annual sales for the first time.

Sometimes new devices facilitate new procedures. Apollo Endosurgery’s OverStitch and ESG devices are the first cleared by FDA for endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, a stomach-shrinking procedure for weight loss that’s performed endoscopically. That caught the attention of Boston Scientific, which is expected to close on its $615 million acquisition of Apollo Endosurgery in the coming months.

Contributions from expert authors in this edition include a primer on electromagnetic navigation sensors, advantages and challenges of onshoring medtech manufacturing operations, the use of styrenics in next-generation medical devices, applications of energy for medical ablation and electroporation, and advice on designing empathy into digital health apps.

Our own Associate Editor Sean Whooley outlines what to expect on the diabetes front in the rest of 2023, including new regulatory clearances, device launches and drug updates.

Speaking of drugs, Pharma Editor Brian Buntz reports on gene therapy developer Genascence and its quest to fight osteoarthritis. Local injections of the drug could help patients avoid surgery, rehab and lingering symptoms — and save healthcare systems big bucks.

DeviceTalks Editorial Director Tom Salemi is gearing up for our big show in Boston this May. Make sure to check out his preview of DeviceTalks Boston speakers featuring engineers from Boston Scientific, Abbott and Stryker.

Finally, as we enter our fourth year battling COVID-19 and it remains stubbornly seated as the third leading cause of death, Dr. Philip Adamson — the chief medical officer for Abbott’s heart failure business — shares what we’ve learned about the disease and how medical devices can help.

As we learn more about the mechanisms of the virus and its long-term effects, who knows how enabling technologies like AI can empower device and drug developers to finally beat back COVID and prepare for whatever pandemic comes next.

I hope this edition of Medical Design & Outsourcing leaves you better enabled to design new and improved medical devices. Thanks so much for reading.

– Jim Hammerand, Managing Editor
Medical Design & Outsourcing