Zimmer Biomet expands joint preservation procedure into foot and ankle markets

AccuFill Bone Substitute Material--Courtesy of Zimmer Biomet

Zimmer Biomet ($ZBH) has widened its patented and trademarked surgical procedure subchondroplasty into use for foot and ankle joints. The company acquired the technology in its 2013 purchase of Knee Creations for an undisclosed amount.

Subchondroplasty was commercialized in 2010 for use in the knee but it has since been applied to other joints with more than 10,000 procedures performed, mostly in the knee. The procedure is intended as an intermediate joint preservation step that would precede joint replacement, but come after early interventions including pain medication and arthroscopy.

It's a minimally invasive, fluoroscopically assisted procedure that targets subchondral bone marrow lesions with Zimmer's AccuFill Bone Substitute Material (BSM), a nanocrystalline, highly porous injectable calcium phosphate.

These lesions are associated with stress fractures or micro-fractures of the bone adjacent to the joint. Untreated, they can lead to cartilage degeneration, limited function, pain and greater risk for joint deterioration.

"Prior to subchondroplasty, I had no viable treatment for patients with chronic stress fractures in the foot and ankle. These injuries show up on MRI, are very painful and often fail to heal with conservative treatment," Dr. Erik Nilssen of The Nilssen Orthopedic Ankle & Foot Center at The Andrews Institute said in a statement.

During its end of July earnings call, Zimmer Biomet President and CEO David Dvorak highlighted the Subchondroplasty treatments, as well as its new JuggerKnot Soft Anchor System, as part of its fast-growing Sports Medicine business.

- here is the statement