With the convergence of the increasing active and aging population as well as continuing surgeon adoption of arthroscopic procedures, there is an increased demand for minimally invasive sports medicine and arthroscopic treatments. This demand is evident due to the fact that according to the 2009 American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) consensus survey which found that 44% of the 17,000 practicing orthopedists in the US report that they have a special interest in sports medicine. Also according to the BioMedGPS Consulting group, there were approximately 5.7 million arthroscopic procedures performed on 4.5 million patients in the US in 2008, including 3 million knee surgeries. The expectation for both sports medicine and arthroscopic treatments is to shorten patient recovery time while enabling a more natural and extended range of motion for the patient.
There are a multitude of new arthroscopy and sports medicine technologies and treatments being developed for the repair and reconstruction of damaged joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other soft tissues in the musculoskeletal framework. Typically these treatments or devices have been engineered with metals and hard plastics; however, there has been a recent shift away from rigid implants towards ‘soft’ implants and fixation methods.