Stryker expects big things from spine in 2021, but no timeline on a spine robot yet

Spinal Tech

Stryker's spine business was steadier in 2020 than other lines during the pandemic.

Spine sales were down 9.5 percent for the full year, reaching just over $1 billion in net sales, compared to hip sales, which dropped 12.8 percent, and knee sales, which were down 13.7 percent.

"We saw spine procedures in general holding up a little better than some of the other elective procedures, particularly for our spine business outside the United States," said Preston Wells, vice president of investor relations, during the company's 2020 earnings call on Jan. 28, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. He attributed the line's lower sales drop to the successful integration it has had with K2M, which Stryker acquired in 2018 for $1.4 billion, and technologies it purchased from Mobius in 2019 for $500 million.

Stryker also reported more stability in the spine line outside the U.S., most notably in Japan and Canada.

"We definitely expect that business to continue to perform well as we go into 2021 and really harness the power across K2M, our legacy spine business as well as the enabling technology," said Mr. Wells.

Stryker's Mako robotic technology has grown in the last year, but CEO Kevin Lobo said he was unable to give a timeline for when the company would have a robotic spine surgery product.

"We have two options for spine," he said. "One is the robotic program that was being developed by Mobius prior to the acquisition, as well as Mako. We have work done in both areas. But I'm not ready to give timelines. Robotics is complicated, and we will keep you posted."

More articles on spine surgery:
What 4 spine surgeons expect from payer negotiations in 2021
10 spine surgeon leaders to know in 2021
Endoscopic procedures 'truly the next generation of spine surgery,' says Dr. Kern Singh

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