Medical Innovation Exchange

Stryker’s next head of joint replacement talks about new revision, robotics products

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Katherine Truppi will take the helm of Stryker’s joint replacement business at the end of the month after current president Don Payerle retires.Truppi has worked for Stryker for more than 20 years, most recently as general manager for the company’s hip business unit. 

Truppi will oversee billion-dollar orthopedics segments in the new role. Last year, Stryker’s knee and hip businesses brought in $2.27 billion and $1.54 billion, respectively.

At the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting in February, Stryker launched its Triathlon Hinge knee replacement, designed for revision surgeries, and new features for its Mako surgical robot.

MedTech Dive caught up with Truppi to talk about the new role and trends in joint replacement. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

MEDTECH DIVE: Tell me about your career with Stryker.

KATHERINE TRUPPI: I started 20 years ago with another division of Stryker, our endo division in the operating room. And that was fantastic because it was a lot of time with surgeon customers and understanding their world. It lit a passion for me to think about our customers and what we do every day.

I then went into joint replacement, where I had different marketing and sales roles. I spent just over six years leading a couple of our joint replacement sales teams in Europe across nine different countries. Then I came back and had the opportunity to lead our hip organization over the last few years, which led me to this role. 

How are you thinking about joint replacement volumes as we’ve been coming out of the pandemic? 

As we emerged out of the pandemic, we definitely saw more accelerated growth to what we had seen historically as recovery began and as patients were comfortable coming back to the operating room again. We’ve seen that upswing. Now, as we go forward, you’ll start to see that volume settle and get to a steady state again of those pre-pandemic levels. That’s what we’re anticipating happens as we progress through this year and into next. 

What are you expecting joint replacement to look like over the next five years? 

We see it from a market perspective, that steady state pre-pandemic levels, but certainly we’re seeing some demographic shifts happening as well. The baby boomer generation is coming into this age where joint replacement may be a consideration for them.

People want to maintain their lifestyles, maintain their mobility, go on that vacation and play their pickleball — there’s a lot of desire to remain active and that certainly is driving interest in the types of products that we offer.

If we go back decades, it was a treatment to keep people mobile around the house. Now the desire to keep those high activity levels going and for folks to live their life and maintain their mobility is a big driver.

You launched your Triathlon Hinge system at AAOS. How does that work with knee revision surgeries? 

It is designed for revision. It’s a complement to the Triathlon system that we launched 20 years ago that is in use today. The portfolio offers surgeons a very comprehensive and versatile solution for whatever the patient presents with, if they need revision. And while it’s simplifying things on the surgeon side, it also offers enhanced function to the patient. 

That return to mobility or maintenance of mobility that we were just discussing — and that the patient population wants — is no different when you look at a revision. 

How much of a contributor do you expect Triathlon Hinge will be in the future?

At this point, we’re just excited about the launch and making sure we’re there for our customers in their most complex cases, just as we can be in their daily primary cases.

What features are you working on for the Mako robot? What timeline are you expecting for a shoulder application? 

The expansion of the Mako platform is really exciting — when you think about getting into revision hip and knee with Mako, when you think about shoulder and you think about spine, which are not currently available but are all active programs right now.

We anticipate that you’ll see the first cases for shoulder by the end of the year. It’s not dissimilar to what we’ve experienced with Mako on the hip and knee side, the primary side of the world. When you look at bringing Mako to these procedures and what it offers to surgeons and their patients, we just feel like the sky’s the limit.

Elise Reuter

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