Stryker finds slow sales for its newly acquired MAKO Robotic Platform |

Stryker finds slow sales for its newly acquired MAKO Robotic Platform

MAKO closeupCan Stryker Get More Surgeons to Use MAKO Robotic Platform? (MDDI blog)


Orthopedics company Stryker shelled out $1.65 billion in acquiring MAKO betting on a future where hip and knee surgeries would be robotically assisted.

It was a bold move, but by executives’ own admission the sales integration has been tougher that expected. It’s no surprise then that MAKO did not contribute much to overall revenue last year. A new analyst report on a survey of 50 orthopedics surgeons found that only eight of them currently use MAKO products in hip and knee surgeries. But that may soon be changing.

In a research report Glenn Novarro, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets said that the three-most commonly cited reasons by surgeons for not using MAKO were lack of clinical benefits, the high price tag and a need for more clinical data.

MAKO’s RIO system reportedly costs $1 million up front.

Given this sentiment, can Stryker get more surgeons to use MAKO? The answer, at least from this report, seems to be an overwhelming yes. Aside from the eight in the survey who said they currently use MAKO in hip and knee procedures, another 12 said they expect to be using the robotic system over the next 12 months.

“By the end of 2015, [about] 40% of surgeons we surveyed expect to be using the MAKO platform for total hip, partial knee, or total knee procedures,” Novarro wrote in his research note on Thursday.

The three oft-cited reasons for why surgeons said they were likely to use the product were ease of use, ability to assist in technically challenging procedures and the capacity to reproduce results.

In fact, based on the survey response, Novarro wrote that in the next 12 months, Stryker would take more market share in hip and knees than any other orthopedics company.

Overall, robotic-assisted surgery in hips and knees will grow significantly over the next decade. Novarro suggests that:

Robotic use in total hips is expected to represent ~11% of total hip procedures two years from now, ~16% of procedures five years from now, and ~22% of procedures 10 years from now. In partial knees, U.S. orthopedic surgeons expect higher penetration, with robotics representing ~17% of partial knee procedures two years from
now, ~29% of procedures five years from now, and ~37% of procedures 10 years from now. Finally, in total knees, U.S. surgeons expect robotics to represent ~10% of total knee procedures two years from now, ~18% of procedures five years from now, and ~23% of procedures ten years from now.

So despite a slow, disappointing start, a MAKO ramp is coming and a consequent uptick in revenue.


Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at and on Twitter @aparmarbb 

2 responses to Stryker finds slow sales for its newly acquired MAKO Robotic Platform

  1. Marty Wynkoop March 6th, 2015 at 6:18 am

    well at a tad under a million dollars, that expense for a hospital STILL trying to figure out ACA is a very big pill, indeed to swallow. Sure the surgeons want to try out the toy but will mom & dad (hospital adm) want to add the expense, when it still doesn’t reduce head count or costs? I don’t think so. Once the robotic advancement eliminates 2 or more folks from the OR, slow sales will be the norm for all this class of devices.

    The initial surge of sales is done, just in time for the ACA to challenge the segment…….oh well another case of government ‘help’.


  2. Malcolm Wootton March 10th, 2015 at 2:26 am

    Whilst agreeing with the above comments, I would also add that the robot actually adds to the headcount in the OR, not to mention the additional overhead of the 3D scanning and modelling that has to be done before surgery can start.
    It’s truly a case of technology push, rather than finding the right answer to a problem.
    My personal observation of several hip cases is that it also makes the whole procedure twice as long (1hr ->2hrs per hip)
    There will be better ways of improving implant placement from the pitiful ~34% at present – which is the most prominent un-met need in hip replacement.

    We are working on much more pragmatic approach to implant alignment which will cost (only) 10’s of thousands per installation.
    Watch this space ;-P