Clinical Applications of $11.5 Billion Ablation Technologies Market Mapped

The performance of surgery has undergone a steady evolution over the past 40 years, moving from procedures employing scalpels and sutures to procedures employing a dizzying number of product types — reusables/disposables, devices/biologics/hybrids, percutaneous/endo-laparoscopic, real-time MRI and other image-guidance and the whole spectrum of devices and equipment in the $11.5 billion ablation technology market.  This last field harnesses the capabilities of instruments differentiated largely by energy type to therapeutically treat tissue by destruction, excision, sealing and other means.

For reference, a dictionary definition of tissue ablation is “the removal of a body part or the destruction of its function, as by surgery, disease, or a noxious substance.” From a device/instrumentation standpoint (as opposed to, for example, chemically-based ablation), ablation is the therapeutic destruction and sealing of tissue or creation of other therapeutic effect in tissue. The predominant forms of device-based ablation technologies include:

  • Electrical
  • Radiation
  • Light
  • Radiofrequency
  • Ultrasound
  • Cryotherapy
  • Thermal (other than cryotherapy)
  • Microwave
  • Hydromechanical

While the tissue effects produced by these different modalities have potential for use in virtually all clinical applications, their emerging use is concentrated in a fairly well defined but detailed list.  The largest share of the market for energy-based ablation devices, driven to a significant extent by its long history in clinical practice, is in cancer therapy, primarily via radiation therapy. General surgical applications represent the next most common use of ablation technologies, especially those using electrocautery and electrosurgical devices, radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy, etc. Cardiovascular applications then represent the next most active area of ablation technologies, especially given the often acute nature of cardiovascular disease.

Most of the universe of ablation technology clinical applications is illustrated in the map, below.

Source: MedMarket Diligence, LLC (Report #A145)