Medtronic Finds its Backbone in the Spine Market

The Dublin-based company has seen high single-digit growth in the market.

Omar Ford

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia via iStock/Getty Images

At a Glance

  • Recent consolidation and the AiBLE Platform have revitalized Medtronic's spine franchise.
  • Some companies are exiting the spine market because of subpar performance.

Medtronic is benefitting from recent acquisitions in the spine market. The Dublin-based company’s executives spoke about how the mergers and the AiBLE platform helped it see high-single-digit growth in what was once a struggling franchise.

The company pointed out that after growing 6% or higher every quarter, its cranial and spinal technologies accelerated to 9% growth in the most recent reported quarter.

Brett Wall, executive vice president and president of Medtronic’s neuroscience portfolio, noted there were several reasons why growth has been steady and why it was so high in the most recent reported quarter.

“It’s a combination of this technology portfolio, including AI surgical planning, including robotics, including power and surgical instrumentation imaging and navigation - putting that all together is creating this very attractive place where very good teams and reps and groups of people want to come together to work with Medtronic,” Wall said according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the call. “So, we have a very active program there. We're getting good contribution now, and we see that contribution continuing as we move forward.”

Historically, Medtronic has struggled in the spine market. In 2013, MD+DI reported that quarter after quarter, the medtech giant’s spine business dipped a bit further. Back then, there were several reasons surrounding the disappointing results. The reasons included pricing pressures from hospital customers, expensive acquisitions and controversy surrounding the InFuse bone-growth product.

Related:Medtronic Exits Ventilator Market, Raises FY24 Outlook

Medtronic’s Chairman and CEO Geoff Martha said its fortunes in spine changed because of the AiBLE ecosystem. AiBLE is a digital ecosystem for neurosurgery that uses artificial intelligence tools to help surgeons plan, perform, and analyze spinal and cranial procedures. It provides a one-stop shop for spine.

“The Medtronic ecosystem, AiBLE, vs some other ecosystem, and there's not many out there, right,” Martha said touting the platform as a difference maker in spine, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “So that's why we keep emphasizing our installed base. It's also changing the industry structure because this takes a lot of expertise and capital to build these ecosystems. So, you don't have this long tail of tiny spine companies that are preying on docs. Those are going away. And so that's why we think this is durable. And we're - this - yes, we're investing heavily in this area and have been for years.”

A Shifting Market

Globus Medical and NuVasive took part in one of the largest spine mergers in recent history a little more than a year ago.

Related:A Bold New Chapter for ZimVie’s Former Spine Business

In 2021, Zimmer Biomet announced it was spinning out its spine business (and dental unit). That company became ZimVie. However, ZimVie struggled to find its footing post-spin in the spinal market.

Earlier this year, the company exited spine and sold the business to H.I.G. Capital for $375 million. The spine business is now being called Highridge Medical.


About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].


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