Medical devices designed with only children in mind

Medical devices designed with only children in mind

OrthoPediatrics was built on a cause – improving the lives of children with orthopedic conditions. Now just one decade old, their work allows children with deformities, injuries to lead full lives.

February 12, 2017
Elizabeth Engler Modic

Cleveland, Ohio – “We focus on neglected areas of pediatric needs and we are the only company that does this,” Mark C. Throdahl, president of CEO of OrthoPediatrics tells a group of journalists that visited Northeast Indiana to see what’s new in medical device design and manufacturing. While the company doesn’t manufacture their products – that is all done through contract manufacturers – the rapid pace of product development keeps the 62 employees in Warsaw, Indiana, very busy. Outside of corporate, the company has 94 sales reps and 24 international distributors selling its rapidly growing line of surgical systems, designed only for children. But the company is still small, considered a late-stage startup that is not yet profitable, but it boasts a growth rate of 32% in the past 5 years with 20% of of sales outside the U.S.

Since 2006, OrthoPediatrics has developed and received regulatory clearance for 18 surgical systems for trauma, long bone deformity and correction, scoliosis, and sports medicine. One example in sports medicine is repairing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) damage in children as young as 8, something that was previously not possible because the procedure could violate children’s growth plates.

OrthoPediatrics - Leading Innovation in Pediatric Orthopedics from OrthoPediatrics on Vimeo.

“So one key thing our company did early on is to help with research and design, was obtaining exclusive rights to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Hamann-Todd Human Osteological Collection, the world’s largest documented collection of modern human skeletal remains,” Throdahl says. “Since then we have scanned them into a database in order to have a deep understanding of the curvature of children’s bones, which are up to 30% more curved than adults.”

Having this insight allows design engineers to develop devices specific for children and not just scaled-down versions of adult implants, as often the company is developing a product for a kid-only condition, so adult equivalents don’t even exist. Another area designers need to consider is the material for the implant, which are often produced in stainless steel versus titanium used for adult implants – mainly because often the implants in children need removed. And, unlike titanium that promotes adherence to bones, stainless doesn’t encourage this as much so removal is easier and doesn’t risk violating the vascular structure of young bones developing.

OrthoPediatrics knows they service a neglected area of specialty products and have grown the company by staying in tune with pediatric surgeons around the country, listening to what challenges they face and what products they need. It appears to be working as OrthoPediatrics is building an enduring company that helps the cause of children around the world and recycles every sales dollar into more research for to keep improving the lives of kids.

Learn more about Northeast Indiana medical device manufacturing and companies located there such as Nextremity Solutions, Banner Medical, and Precision Medical Technologies.