Virtually every medical device company is trying to improve the lives of patients with the products they create. And many are entirely successful at accomplishing exactly that. However, when a company decides to buck the norm in the development of a seemingly standard product, I try to take notice. MicroPort Orthopedics offers a new implant that, according to published reports, seem to be more satisfactory with patients than many competitive products.
I spoke with Sahagun about MicroPort, what differentiates their implant product line, and their newest patient ambassador—NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw.
Sean Fenske: Can you please give me a brief overview of MicroPort Orthopedics? What are your primary product offerings for the ortho space?
Aurelio Sahagun: MicroPort Orthopedics was established in January 2014, and is a multinational producer of cutting edge orthopedic products and a member of the MicroPort Scientific Corporation family of companies. From our headquarters in Arlington, Tenn., we develop, produce, and distribute innovative orthopedic reconstructive products. The company’s U.S.-based manufacturing and logistics capabilities deliver high quality hip and knee products to patients and their doctors in over 60 countries, including the U.S., EMEA, Japan, Latin American, and Chinese markets.
Among all of our product offerings, SuperPath, the first Direct Superior Portal Assisted Total Hip Approach, allows patients to return to full function faster as it does not require cutting any key muscles or tendons. Patients treated with SuperPath stayed in the hospital for a shorter amount of time, were discharged to their home more often, and were less likely to return to the hospital within 30 days for any reason—resulting in 28 percent lower in-hospital costs and 66 percent lower post-discharge costs as compared to the national average.
Our other primary product offering is the Evolution Medial-Pivot Knee System. With over a half million implanted to date, the Medial-Pivot Knee has a long clinical history supported by more than 90 clinical publications highlighting 98.8 percent implant survivorship at 17 years. Additionally, a recent study showed that for patients who have both a Medial-Pivot and non-MicroPort implant, the Medial-Pivot “side” is preferred by 76.2 percent of patients.
Fenske: The company seems to have adopted the motto, “The Patient Always Comes First.” What does that mean to you?
Sahagun: At Microport Orthopedics, our top priority isn’t just to help surgeons get patients back to their feet. We want to help patients get back to full function faster. This mantra is a part of every decision we make and everything we do. We know that knee and hip implants are constantly being improved just as medical procedures themselves evolve with each passing day. We embrace this constant advance in medicine, and we strive to take the best advantage of it to benefit our patients.
Fenske: One of the company’s patients is NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw. How did it come to be that he has become a sort of patient advocate for MicroPort?
Sahagun: Like many knee replacement patients, Bradshaw had been suffering with knee pain, which he attempted to treat with medication, therapy, and injections. He could not find a finite way to eliminate the pain, and that is when he consulted C. Lowry Barnes, M.D., chair of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Barnes recommended our Evolution Medial-Pivot (MP) Knee System out of all of the other products available and Bradshaw has reaped the benefits ever since.
Despite his celebrity status, he is just like many of our patients. Terry was experiencing so much knee pain that it was diminishing his quality of life. We are very pleased to have Terry’s support and happy that we could improve his well-being following surgery.
Fenske: You’ve said that the ideal outcome in a joint replacement is for the patient to forget that they have the joint replacement. How does your implant offering achieve that goal?
Sahagun: It has been reported that 20 percent of implant patients are not satisfied with the outcome of their total knee replacement as a result of residual pain and functional issues often attributed to implant design. In 2015, The Knee published a study evaluating long-term clinical and radiographic outcomes of the Medial-Pivot Knee System. The results demonstrate excellent clinical outcomes for both satisfaction (95 percent) and survivorship (98.8 percent) at 17 years with patients noting a great sense of stability and comfort during regular activities. We are proud of these results, but we are constantly working to continually improve on these outcomes.
Likewise, our SuperPath product is the first Direct Superior Portal Assisted Total Hip Approach that does not require cutting any key muscles or tendons—allowing patients to return to full function, faster. Patients treated with SuperPath stayed in the hospital for a shorter amount of time, were discharged to their home more often, and were less likely to return to the hospital within 30 days for any reason; resulting in 28 percent lower in-hospital costs and 66 percent lower post-discharge costs as compared to the national average.
Fenske: There is an array of knee replacement offerings available on the market today. What differentiates MicroPort Orthopedics’ products?
Sahagun: As mentioned previously, studies report that on average, 20 percent of patients are not satisfied with the outcome of their total knee replacement. Much of this dissatisfaction is related to functional limitations post-surgery. Traditional implants today have done a better job of addressing wide varieties of patient anatomy; however, they have not done a good job replicating normal knee kinematics that drive better function. A normal knee pivots on its inner (medial) side. And when the knee bends, the outer (lateral) side rolls back, while the medial side rotates in one place. This is precisely how the EvolutionMP Knee implant was designed to move, and how it received its name—by replicating the bending, rotating, and twisting of a healthy knee. This ball-in-socket design maximizes stability throughout range of motion, and allows patients to walk down stairs, and complete other daily activities with confidence.
In addition, a growing number of experienced surgeons around the world have embraced MicroPort’s SuperPath as their preferred total hip replacement technique to deliver faster recovery to patients. When compared to national averages, patients treated with the SuperPath hip technique have stayed in the hospital for a shorter amount of time, been discharged directly to their homes more often, and are less likely to return to the hospital within 30 days for any reason—all without the typical postoperative hip restrictions associated with traditional total hip replacement techniques. This procedure allows the patients to return to a normal gait more rapidly than other products, with unrestricted motion and weight bearing postoperatively. It offers the opportunity to facilitate recovery while potentially decreasing both short- and long-term surgical complication rates compared with conventional total hip arthroplasty techniques.
Fenske: What’s next for Microport Orthopedics? What’s on the horizon for the company?
Sahagun: We’ve got a lot of great news to share in 2017. In fact, MicroPort Orthopedics will be making the largest new product launch in the company’s history later this year. I can’t share any details yet, but as you can imagine, we’re very excited, as this product will complement a number of our existing products and surgical approaches in helping patients return to full function faster.