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Will Robots Take Their Place in Orthopedics?

Robots are becoming more central to the orthopedic field, but widespread adoption still faces considerable hurdles.

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Editor's note: At the time of publication (Aug. 28, 2016), a family member of the analyst owned shares in Stryker (SYK) in an account managed by a third party. Morningstar has confirmed that her ownership of Stryker did not influence any ratings or analysis.

While using robots for surgery has been on the periphery for more than two decades, they have become more central to the orthopedic field over the past several years, especially with the purchase of Mako by  Stryker (SYK) and the acquisition of Blue Belt by  Smith & Nephew (SNN). In the hands of these larger competitors, we expect robotic surgery to expand its application in orthopedics over the next five years. However, ambiguity around the clinical utility of robots and caution among surgeons could keep the adoption curve gradual over the next five to 10 years. There are definitely challenges to the adoption of this technology.

Debbie Wang does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.