The global medical grade ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) market size was worth USD 390.5 million in 2015. Rising orthopedic surgical procedures and an increasing number of diseases such as osteoarthritis are expected to contribute to demand growth over the forecast period.
UHMWPE is a subset of polyethylene and has no color, and taste. It possesses superior abrasive and corrosive resistance, high strength, is light weight, and has a low coefficient of friction. All these inherent properties have enabled it to find widespread usage in medical applications. The growth in medical industry due to various reasons such as rising geriatric population is anticipated to benefit the market growth over the next eight years.
Major applications of medical grade UHMPWE include total hip replacement, knee replacement, shoulder replacement, ankle replacement and small joints. There has been a recent rise in knee replacement and revision surgeries owing to arthritis, implant loosening, and joint infections. Knee replacement widely uses UHMWPE due to its superior properties and high versatility. Thus, growth in replacement surgeries is expected to fuel the market demand.
Applications such as total shoulder arthroplasty require simple instrumentation, firmly seated glenoid prosthesis, extensive surgical exposure, and anatomic articulating surface. These properties are all successfully met by UHMWPE fiber used in medical grade. There has been a recent rise in total shoulder replacements in the recent past, and this trend is expected to continue over the forecast period thus complementing the market growth.
Owing to low absorption and self-lubricating properties, manufacturers prefer UHMWPE over other material types. The polymer has excellent chemical resistance, superior sound dampening characteristics, and superior dielectric & electrical insulating properties, owing to which it is increasingly used in orthopedic industry.
The value chain of the industry is characterized by companies having low backward integration as it is hard to achieve. There is a significant level of forward integration in the industry due to efforts were taken by companies to achieve tighter control over logistics efficiency. Companies are spending heavily on R&D to develop new and superior products. End users of the product depend heavily on suppliers and distributors due to the comparatively less number of industry participants.
U.S. Medical Grade Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) Market Revenue By Application, 2014 - 2024 (USD Million)
Knee replacement accounted for more than 35% share in 2015 and is expected to continue its dominance from 2016 to 2024. Over the years, ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) wear debris-induced osteolysis is being widely used for total knee arthroplasty applications.
In terms of revenue, total hip replacement is expected to grow at an anticipated CAGR of 15.6% over the forecast period. Cross-linked UHMWPE components are being widely applied in hip implants. Growing geriatric population in countries such as Germany and Japan is expected to aid the overall market growth over the next eight years.
High demand from countries such as Japan, India, South Korea and China are driving the overall Asia Pacific market. The presence of a large number of geriatric population in countries such as Japan, rapid urbanization, increasing disposable income, and government initiatives to provide quality medical treatment are the factors driving growth in the region.
MEA and CSA regional markets are expected to experience high growth over the forecast period. North America demand is projected to grow at an anticipated CAGR of 14.9% from 2016 to 2024. The presence of sophisticated medical infrastructure, high standard of living and preference for quality medical treatment are the factors contributing to North America demand growth.
The industry is oligopolistic in nature. Top three companies are accounted to hold more than 50% of the total revenue. Manufacturers are taking research initiatives to introduce improved version of medical grade UHMWPE fibers that do not involve in wear issues and also safe when it comes in contact with the tissues. Certain types of companies play an important of processing UHMWPE before being used for the applications. These are a handful of stand-alone processors in the industry which specialize in only in processing.
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