The global spread of COVID-19 has led to the complete suspension of elective surgeries, especially in the most affected countries. Some regions witnessed a 70% reduction in the number of patients seeking aesthetic treatments from January 2020 onwards. Moreover, several dental events have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For instance, KRAKDENT 2020, the largest dental show in Poland and an event that attracts over 15,000 visitors worldwide has been rescheduled. The CEO of Straumann Group announced that the COVID-19 outbreak was expected to reduce sales in the Asia Pacific in FY 2020 by at least USD 31 million. Additionally, DENTSPLY Sirona recently predicted that its sales in the Chinese, South Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese markets would fall by a cumulative USD 60–70 million in FY 2020.
Medical implants are artificial devices that are used to replace damaged or missing biological parts. Implants help deliver medication, monitor body functions, and provide support to organs and tissues in different applications (such as dental, orthopedic, and cardiovascular).
The medical implants market is driven by the growing healthcare needs of the senior population, advancements in medical technologies, and the rising incidence of chronic diseases, such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, neuropathic diseases, and congenital disorders, among others.
The significant growth in the geriatric population is expected to result in an increased demand for joint reconstruction, cardiovascular surgeries, and dental replacement procedures and an increase in the prevalence of hearing loss. These factors are, in turn, expected to support the growth of the hearing, orthopedic, and dental implants market.
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Medical ceramics are key components in the manufacturing of various implantable devices, such as orthopedic implants (artificial hips, knee, shoulder, wrists, fracture fixation, and bone grafts), cardiovascular implants (heart valves, pacemakers, catheters, grafts, and stents), dental implants (enamels, fillings, prosthetics, and orthodontics), and hearing implants (cochlear implants).
Considering the growing demand for implantable devices in different segments (such as cardiovascular, dental, and orthopedics), the uptake of medical ceramics is expected to increase in the coming years.
These products have to be implanted inside the human body; they need to be biocompatible and comply with the ISO biocompatibility testing standards. However, it is difficult to anticipate the biocompatibility till the later stages of clinical trials, making companies and investors apprehensive of investing in this market.
Also, regulatory procedures are complicated, restrictive, and depend on the composition of ceramics and their future applications, making the approval process for medical ceramic products cumbersome, expensive, and time-consuming. These factors are expected to hinder the growth of the medical ceramics market to a certain extent.
The World Economic Forum estimates these emerging economies to account for around one-third of the global healthcare expenditure by 2020.
The rising geriatric population in these countries will lead to increased demand for medical facilities and devices, which is likely to propel the growth of the medical ceramics market. Moreover, growth in these markets can primarily be attributed to the low prices of dental treatments in these countries compared to developed economies and their infrastructural development.
Additionally, medical device manufacturers are also setting up their facilities in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Latin America. In recent years, key players such as Baxter International, Becton Dickinson, BIOTRONIK, Hoya Surgical Optics, Life Technologies, Medtronic, Siemens Medical Instruments, and AB SCIEX have set up their manufacturing and RD facilities in Singapore.
The lack of a skilled workforce and proper techniques to repair further highlight the issue of reparability. Medical ceramics have a long lifespan but are not recyclable. Due to the long lifespan and various mechanical and optical properties of medical ceramics, the different composites used in various end-use applications face recyclability and reparability. This is one of the major challenges hampering the growth of the medical ceramics market.