Smith & Nephew reveal plans to build digital surgery and robotics ecosystem

Smith & Nephew is developing products and making investments that are expected to create a multi-asset digital surgery and robotics ecosystem

March 15, 2019
by John R. Fischer , Staff Reporter
Smith & Nephew is in the midst of developing new products and making investments that set the stage for a multi-asset digital surgery and robotics ecosystem.

Among its endeavors is the launch of its handheld robotic surgical system, NAVIO 7.0; news about the upcoming release of its next generation surgical robotics platform; the opening of its R&D and medical education center for robotics; and its acquisition of Brainlab’s Orthopaedic Joint Reconstruction business.

With a new intuitive interface, NAVIO 7.0 offers surgeons expanded surgical preferences and a streamlined workflow that may reduce time for procedures more than with the past generation. It will include ANTHEM Total Knee System for emerging markets, a solution that has demonstrated non-inferiority of 10-year implant survivorship in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis.

"Smith & Nephew’s NAVIO surgery eliminates the CT scan often associated with other image-based, robotics-assisted technology," a Smith & Nephew spokesperson told HCB News. "Instead, NAVIO uses real-time imaging in the OR, which eliminates time, costs and radiation exposure associated with preoperative CT imaging. CT-free technology will also feature on the new platform."

Though not yet FDA cleared, commercialization of the software is expected to begin in the second half of 2019 and will be followed by the completion of Smith & Nephew’s next generation robotics platform later on in the year.

Equipped with CT-free technology, the system can be used in all surgical settings, including ambulatory surgical centers, and can be incorporated into Smith & Nephew’s sports medicine tower due to its reduction of physical footprints. In addition, procedure time is less, compared to NAVIO 7.0, due to the platform’s advanced offerings in surgical workflow, data acquisition and connectivity, with plans by the company’s R&D program to incorporate augmented reality, stand-alone robotic arms and machine learning technologies.

Smith & Nephew also plans to expand the reach of its company with the opening of an R&D and medical education training facility for robotics in Pittsburgh, the headquarters of its robotics business. Tripling the space of its robotics business, the expansion opens up multiple job opportunities which the company is currently working to fill.

Another new addition is the Brainlab Orthopaedic Joint Reconstruction business, which serves more than 500 accounts worldwide. The acquisition includes Brainlab’s associated sales force, which will be integrated into Smith & Nephew’s robotics organization to help to create an upgrade path with more capabilities for customers of Brainlab and Smith & Nephew, as well as the installation of Brainlab’s hip software on NAVIO 7.0.

"The Brainlab orthopaedic joint reconstruction business provides surgeons with digital workflow tools, from preoperative planning to intraoperative navigation to postoperative evaluation and sharing. It helps maximise precision and reproducibility and achieve desired outcomes for patients and surgeons," said Smith & Nephew. "Smith & Nephew’s initial priority will be to install the Brainlab hip software onto NAVIO 7.0 and to upgrade current NAVIO users to the new platform. We believe our customers will value having multiple technologies on one system, covering both hip and knee procedures."

The two will develop a number of applications together for digital surgery that will enhance the functionality of Smith & Nephew’s advanced automation platform and grow its clinical indicators. The platform will be compatible with the Brainlab digital operating room solution, enabling users to share data to enhance clinical practice, and will also support augmented reality.

Initially focused on orthopaedic reconstruction and sports medicine, opportunities will be available to expand the reach of the platform into other surgical specialties.

Terms around the partnership between the two and the Brainlab business acquisition were not disclosed, along with those of the lease for the R&D and medical education training facility.

NAVIO 7.0 will be on display this month at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting 2019 in Las Vegas, alongside a new virtual reality training module for robotics-assisted surgery developed for NAVIO by Osso VR.

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