Some additional info on Zimmer's iAssist. There is an instructional video on it on their website.
There are many, many pieces of hardware to it. The console itself looks like an extra-large Garmins GPS or an 1980s-style laptop, the old Toshibas, I think. The key pieces are four disposable "pods" which the video refers to as jigs. The operating system looks like an early version of Windows Vista.
From what i can see, the surgeon basically needs to be an electrician to calibrate the pods, make screw adjustments, etc. prior to surgery. I wasn't impressed... would love to hear from others who have insights into this new offering
OK. Below is Zimmer's press release yesterday on 510k clearance for it's new iASSIST guidance technology. Admittedly, it seems to be spooking some Mako investors. I'm trying to understand the competitive threat from this - is this the simple, low-cost "jig" solution to knee replacement alignment that could wipe out the need for Mako's robotic tech? My initial read is NO. Would love to hear from those with some orthopedic background on how this new offering from ZMH works - the press release is very vague about how it "assists" the surgeon?
For Zimmer to offer such a technology at all (seems to me) is an admission that there WAS something sub-par with the traditional way of aligning in non-robotic/non-computer assisted total knee replacement - makes sense, right?
Zimmer Receives FDA Clearance for Revolutionary New Surgical Guidance Technology
iASSIST™ Knee Supports Streamlined, Personalized Knee Replacement Procedures
WARSAW, Ind., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Zimmer Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: ZMH; SIX: ZMH), a global leader in musculoskeletal health, today announced that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market iASSIST™ Knee, the Personalized Guidance System™ for knee replacement procedures.
iASSIST represents a revolutionary next step in surgical guidance, providing simple, intuitive and accurate intraoperative feedback and alignment validation to surgeons during joint replacement procedures, eliminating the need for bulky capital equipment. Current robotic and navigation systems use optical-tracking, requiring a clear line-of-sight into the surgical field, and rely upon complex additional equipment in the operating room, providing feedback on external computer screens.
Zimmer's iASSIST Knee technology comprises small electronic disposable pod components that are used at the site of knee replacement surgery, providing instantaneous, accurate alignment validation through a simple electronic display. The disposable pods are manipulated within the surgical field with positioning information provided by a series of internal accelerometers. iASSIST Knee does not require the use of pins or additional incisions and does not rely on external systems or stimulus.
"iASSIST Knee represents the next-step in intelligent instruments, offering significant benefits to patients, health care providers and health systems. This innovative technology supports more streamlined and personalized knee replacement procedures through a simple, disposable intraoperative device," said Jeff McCaulley, President, Zimmer Reconstructive. "We are greatly excited by the potential of iASSIST technology, which delivers on the promise of accurate implant positioning and alignment validation without the complexity, cost and time associated with current capital-intensive navigation and robotic systems."
iASSIST Knee technology is compatible with Zimmer's current and next generation knee systems.