Medical Exoskeleton Market - The Future of Bionic Technology

Posted in Medical Devices by Adolf on Sep 19,2022 703

Medical exoskeletons are medical electrical equipment which is used to provide mobility to physically disabled, injured or weak persons, who are unable to walk due to a variety of medical reasons such as SCI, neurological disorders, major trauma like stroke, cerebral palsy and so on. The demand for medical exoskeletons is primarily being boosted by rising prevalence of neurological disorders, growing prevalence of spinal cord injury, increasing number of brain injuries and technological advancements in the product development.

Another key aspect contributing in the growing demand for lower extremity medical exoskeletons is the orthopaedic rehabilitation training, which generally involves performing specific movements to provoke motor plasticity and ultimately improve motor recovery. It is crucial for patients to improve their musculoskeletal strength and motor control and to minimize functional deficits. An exoskeleton allows people with mobility disorders to regain the ability to stand and to walk over the ground, upstairs, and downstairs. Compared to traditional physical therapy, exoskeleton assistive rehabilitation has the advantages of reducing the work of therapists, allowing intensive and repetitive training, and it is more convenient to use for quantitatively assessing the recovery level by measuring force and movement patterns. Considering the advantages associated with these systems, there has been a growing acceptance among end users which has resulted in more products reaching the market.

The Medical Exoskeletons Market is experiencing increasing product demand due to a variety of factors. One of the important factors is the growing prevalence of neurological disorders. This is evident from the data provided by the World Health Organization (2021), wherein over 1 billion people live with some form of disability across the globe. In addition to the above-mentioned source, the National Health Portal of India (2021) cited that in 2021, more than 17 million people across the globe were living with cerebral palsy.

Furthermore, as per the data presented by the MS International Federation, in 2020, nearly about 2.8 million people across the globe were suffering from multiple sclerosis. Indications such as cerebral palsy causes impaired muscle tone and movement, leading to spastic or flaccid muscles, impaired reflexes, poor coordination, involuntary movements, poor posture and impaired balance. All of these issues impact how a person moves and is able to get from one place to another. Crouch gait, the excessive bending of the knees while walking, is a common and debilitating condition in children with cerebral palsy. Exoskeletons offer the ability to augment human locomotion by applying appropriately timed and scaled torques to lower-extremity joint.

In addition, many studies have reported benefits of employing the use of a robotic exoskeleton that can influence walking recovery in patients with a serious neurological disease. Another key factor responsible for driving the demand for medical exoskeletons is the increasing prevalence of spinal cord injury. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center 2021, in the year 2020 the estimated number of people suffering from spinal cord injury was approximately 296,000 patients, with a range from 252,000 to 373,000 patients. Also, the rising number of brain injuries is a rising factor for driving the medical exoskeleton market during the forecasting period. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2021, in the year 2020, approximately 61,000 TBI-related deaths had occurred in the US in the year 2019.

The global medical exoskeletons market was valued at US$ 295.58 million in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 18.23% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2027 to reach US$ 807.30 million by 2027. However, due to the COVID-19 the medical exoskeletons market experienced a period of temporary recession as lockdown restrictions were enforced as a necessary step to curb the spread of the infection. One of the major impacts of lockdowns were observed in the disruption of production process and supply chains across the globe. Along with this, the significant decrease in the medical procedures due to prioritizing of COVID-19 infection-associated patient load, there was a striking decrease in the product demand. Nevertheless, the market is in the recovery stage and activities have begun in various areas such as medical services thereby presenting a positive growth environment for the medical exoskeletons market.

Among all the regions, North America is estimated to account for the largest share in the medical exoskeletons market. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (2021), as many as 450,000 people in the United States were living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) in 2021. In another dataset presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, 166 people lost their lives to a traumatic brain injury each day in 2019. The CDC (2020) further mentions that about 1 in 345 children (3 per 1,000 8-year-old children) in the US have been identified with cerebral palsy.

All these indications affect the nervous system in varying degrees with different etiologies involved and ultimately affect a person’s motor control. Therefore, the presence of large patient population suffering from neurological indications points towards the growing need for these devices in the country. This further acts as a motivating factor for manufacturers operating in the domain in gaining market access on a country level as the US also has a reputation of availability of the best healthcare facilities in the world.

Some of the key market players operating in the medical exoskeletons market includes ReWalks Robotics Ltd, Wearable Robotics srl, Ekso Bionics, CYBERDYNE INC, ExoAtlet, Hocoma, MARSI BIONICS, SL, Ottobock, Gogoa, Gloreha IDROGENET s.r.l., Fourier Intelligence, Shanghai Siyi Intelligent Technology Co.,Ltd, BAMA Teknoloji, BIONIK and others.

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