Technologies developed and in use for the management of acute and chronic wounds have diversified from traditional dressings, bandages and wound closure techniques to include an increasing number of diverse technologies ranging from tissue engineering, growth factors, physical therapies (e.g., negative pressure) and others.Traditional dressings and bandages have evolved to contain more active elements contributing to wound healing, with products including films, hydrocolloids, foams, alginates, hydrogels, non-adherents and antimicrobials. Wound closure is a specific area of intense development and market growth beyond traditional suturing and more recent stapling technologies and has seen proliferation and high market growth for surgical sealants, glues and hemostasis products.
The size of the worldwide wound management market is ultimately driven by the clinical need for advanced wound management products. That need is most clearly reflected in the prevalence of chronic wounds and burns. Current estimates put the total annual incidence of chronic wounds at almost 9 million worldwide, and there are 177 million cases of diabetes worldwide; 10-15% of diabetic patients will develop ulcers at some point. The market for products used in the management of venous stasis (as in chronic venous ulcers) is put at over $3 billion, while the decubitus ulcer (e.g., bedsores) market is in excess of $2 billion. Sales of products used to treat diabetic foot ulcers are estimated around $1.5 billion, and the market for burns dressings is approximately $60 million.
It should be noted that a large proportion of worldwide wound product sales are accounted for by traditional types of wound management products. An estimated two-thirds of the world’s physicians are not making routine use of advanced wound management products, with availability playing only a minor role in limiting their use. Conversely, while the U.S. healthcare market is characterized by an almost overindulgent attitude toward new technologies, U.S. physicians are much more conservative in their approach to advanced wound healing technologies than their European counterparts. For this reason, the European share of the advanced wound care market is significantly higher than the U.S. share.
Market Growth in Wound Management Product Segments
Until recently, the product categories with most growth potential were alginates and foams; both have substantial shares of the total market and both are set to increase their shares substantially between 2007 and 2016. Hydrocolloids had a considerable market share in 2007 but their star is in decline; it is anticipated that they will lose several percentage points in the market share table by 2016. (Segment growth in chart from MedMarket Diligence report #S245, “Worldwide Wound Management, 2007-2016,” publishing November 2007. See link for description, table of contents.)
The most significant market entrants are growth factors and, even more dramatically, physical therapies — specifically, negative pressure (also known as VAC therapy) devices. This market sector grew from a small base to gain $1.2 billion by 2007 and is set to capture an estimated 20% of the advanced woundcare market by 2016.
Films, antimicrobials and non-adherent dressings will maintain steady growth although their shares of a vigorously expanding market will decline.
(Report #S245, “Worldwide Wound Management” is available for purchase online.)