The global market for spinal fusion—which includes spinal plating systems, interbody devices, vertebral body replacement devices, and pedicle screw systems (excluding minimally invasive spine devices)—is set to rise from approximately US$7.1 billion in 2016 to just under US$9 billion by 2023, representing a compound annual growth rate of 3.4%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The company’s latest report states that this relatively steady market growth, which covers 39 countries, will primarily be driven by the growing prevalence of degenerative spinal conditions due to ageing, continued technological advancements in spinal fusion surgeries, such as expandable interbody cages and navigation systems, and the increased adoption of minimally invasive techniques.
Linda Tian, GlobalData’s managing analyst covering Medical Devices, explains: “There are several conditions in which the fusion procedure has emerged as the gold standard for surgical intervention. In the instance of symptomatic degenerative disc disease within the cervical spine, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is widely viewed as the hallmark procedure to be performed, given its persisting performance in large-scale studies with substantial follow-up.
“Additionally, fusion surgery has been proven to provide better clinical outcomes for spondylolisthesis patients than conservative care alone or decompression surgery alone. The excellent performance of spinal fusion in these indications will continue to drive the procedure’s adoption.”
In spite of this, the US healthcare system has grown wary of the extensive growth of spinal fusion procedures, as data emerge indicating the number of medically unnecessary surgeries being performed in the country. Medicare estimates that more than US$200million was spent on improperly indicated spinal fusion procedures in 2011.
Tian continues, “New measures to combat the soaring number of procedures will temper the spinal fusion procedural growth rate seen in the past, as surgeons are going to be less likely to perform the procedure on patients for whom they do not have proper documentation and justification that complies with the insurer’s policies.
“In other regions, however, such measures are not in place to restrict market growth. In Europe, spine surgeons are afforded the autonomy to perform the procedure in the indications that they see fit. Additionally, they are not required to document a treatment regimen of non-conservative therapy prior to receiving the surgery in order to get reimbursed. Thus, the flexibility of surgeons to perform the procedure in a multitude of indications with minimal interference will continue to boost the European spinal fusion space.”