Prosthetics have been available in crude shapes since 950 B.C. for upper and lower extremities. Prosthetic limbs are remembered through time immemorial in tales of peg legged pirates and seamen with hooks for hands. Today the orthopedic prosthetics have progressed far beyond the conventional mechanism and have overcome their previous weaknesses in designs. The conventional devices were prone to be clumsy, ill-shaped, and heavy. In most cases, the placement of prosthetics led to gangrene and eventual death. Modern orthopedic prosthetics are made with very light and durable biocompatible materials and polymers such as carbon fibre, aluminium, titanium and steel. Over the last three decades, prosthetics have seen tremendous growth in terms of technology particularly in terms of bionics. Biophysics and kinesiology has played a major role along with animation software in developing advanced prosthetics.
The market for prosthetics in developed countries is driven primarily by customization. Due to increasing obesity in several regions of the world, heavy duty prosthetics have increased in demand giving rise to high powered microprocessor controlled devices such as Genium and C-leg. However, this is not the only reason as highly active people (O&P) K-level 4 amputees also demand prosthetics that allow great dexterity and activity. Customization of prosthetics has been the crux of effective and helpful installation of prosthetics amongst individuals. Hence, today there is a variety of choices ranging in liners for limb prosthetics, microprocessor controlled feet, knees, elbows and other accessories such as socket technologies and adapters. In recent times, 3D printed prosthetics and bionic limbs have begun entering the market with products such as i-limb. Touch Bionics is not the only player in the bionic limbs market as a long string of universities are now researching bionic arms and legs. Several players in Japan, a leader in robotics had already released prototypes of prosthetics that can mimic biological limbs.
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The market for prosthetics can be bifurcated primarily into upper limb prosthetics and lower limb prosthetics. The market can be further segmented into mechanical and microprocessor controlled devices used for complete support and rehabilitation. The study also reports market by the K-level or activity level of amputees that provides another unique perspective to the entire prosthetics industry. Estimates suggest that international conflicts around the world are the second leading reason of installing prosthetics, trailing behind road trauma and accidents. Other causes of fitting prosthetics are instances where amputation is necessary due to medical conditions such as gangrene, infection, diabetes, idiopathic necrosis of femoral head and joints. The largest fraction of the market for prosthetics is estimated to be held by North America and Europe. Due to recent increase in international conflicts in the middle-east, it is expected that the region will lead to an increased demand of prosthetic limbs. Japan and China are the largest markets in Asia-Pacific making the region the third largest market. Other regions of Latin America, Middle-East and Africa form the fourth and smallest regional market group. This report is intended for manufacturers of prosthetics and their accessories, O&P specialists, distributors, suppliers and OEM players in the entire value chain. The intended readers also include other market analysts looking for a fresher perspective on this market along with venture capitalists and investors.
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Key European players such as Ottobock and Ossur lead the market with the highest share, followed by American players that include Ohio Willow Wood, Fillauer and Endolite. Other smaller players are also making their mark in this industry and include College Park Industries, Freedom innovations, TruLife and Touch Bionics.
NOTE: This report is currently under research and will be made available to clients on request.