According to Millennium Research Group (MRG), the global authority on medical technology market intelligence, the segment of the United States nonvascular interventional radiology device market with the fastest growth and greatest potential is ablation devices, comprising radiofrequency (RF) ablation, cryoablation and microwave ablation devices. The overall market will grow moderately to $295 million by 2017.
Ablation devices offer a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical treatment of liver, prostate, kidney and lung cancers, and this segment is growing quickly because of the increasing popularity of minimally invasive treatments and the rising incidence of these soft tissue cancers.
RF ablation is the most established device type, but microwave ablation and cryoablation are growing rapidly, due to some advantages these types of ablation offer. Microwave ablation devices can produce larger ablation zones and don’t suffer as much from the heat sink effect that can handicap RF ablation. Growth in microwave ablation devices has stalled growth in RF ablation, and this segment of the market will slightly decline through 2017.
Microwave ablation devices are currently sold mainly by smaller companies with limited distribution networks. This has made them attractive acquisition targets by more established companies. For example, AngioDynamics, a leader in RF ablation, recently made a large investment in Microsulis, a microwave ablation company.
Cryoablation devices are the only kind of ablation device that can be used to treat prostate cancer. Urologists and interventional radiologists both use cryoablation to treat kidney cancer, using differing techniques.
“Cryoablation is more versatile than other ablation devices because its effects do not need to be permanent,” said MRG Analyst Sean Messenger. “As a result, it can be useful in indications outside of cancer, most prominently in pain palliation, another growing market. Competitors see the opportunity for significant growth, leading Endo Health Solutions, a company with a large pain franchise and a focus on pain palliation, to acquire the top cryoablation manufacturer, HealthTronics, in 2010.”
Millennium Research Group’s US Markets for Nonvascular Interventional Radiology Devices 2013 report includes unit, installed base, average selling price and revenue information, along with market drivers and limiters and competitive landscape for ablation devices, percutaneous drainage catheters and soft tissue biopsy needles in the United States.