What is the future of orthopedic surgery?

A wonderful part of my role as a retained recruiter for early-stage orthopedic companies, is that I get to see the early stuff. Real early stuff. Pre-commercialization, pre-success, and pre-trend.

I am often asked the future of orthopedics question by an ambitious job seeker who is chasing the next great technology in orthopedics.

People reach out to me because they want to catch a tech curve early, and work near the tip of the spear. In the past, many friends joined startups with perfect timing in…

  *   Robotics and Extremities in the 10s
  *   Biologics in the 00s
  *   Spine in the 90s

Back to the question… So, what is the future of Orthopedic Surgery?

My honest answer

“The smart operating system in the OR.”

One Startup is showing us the way

If you want to peer into the future of orthopedic surgery, just watch and learn about Proprio.

Proprio seems to be the only startup that can see beyond the horizon. I believe that Proprio has leapfrogging everyone because they did not start with devices or any business model baggage. No roots in ortho or spine. They are getting started this year with a gen 1 system called Paradigm that includes a proprietary platform that synthesizes artificial intelligence, computer vision, augmented reality, and robotics. 

How it works

Proprio’s Paradigm system and Prism array will oversee the entire procedure. The Paradigm system knows everything going on in real time – where the tools are, where the surgeon’s hands are, where the robot is, where the bones are, etc. The Paradigm system, over time, will also know every surgery that a specific surgeon has performed. It may also know of thousands of “like” procedures that have been done.


The Paradigm system doesn’t care what device is being implanted, what instruments are being used, or even if there is a robot in the room. It’s an operating system. The Paradigm system is software running in the background, not hardware (devices and instruments and robots).

Real-time expertise

This new system is like having the world’s greatest surgeons looking over the shoulder of the operating surgeon. The appeal of this new system is that it turns an average surgeon into a great surgeon, it saves time, it avoids mistakes, it lowers costs for the healthcare system and gives patients better outcomes. A win-win-win.

We have to look beyond implantable devices, instruments and robots to see this.

The future of orthopedic surgery is a a system with real AI that can influence a procedure.

It’s coming. Proprio is about to turn the 1990s flip phone into the first iPhone.