Bronchoscopes are used in a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including the detection of lung tumours, lung infections and airway blockages. Certain respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, sarcoidosis and tracheoesophageal fistula are also detected with the help of bronchoscopes, while therapeutic bronchoscopies include the management of benign airway stenosis, laser bronchoscopy, cryotherapy, endobronchial brachytherapy and photodynamic therapy. With these wide-ranging indications, the bronchoscopes market is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4%, resulting in a global market value exceeding $830m by 2030, according to GlobalData.
Several types of bronchoscopes exist on the market today, namely rigid bronchoscopes, mobile bronchoscopes, flexible fibre (non-video) bronchoscopes and flexible video bronchoscopes, the latter of which have dominated the market share in recent years. This is due to their technological advantages, wide range of indications of use, and continuously improving visualisation capabilities. All of these types have traditionally been reusable devices that undergo extensive sterilisation cycles between each use. However, given the ever-present possibility of cross-contamination due to inadequate sterilisation, a growing number of manufacturers have developed and launched single-use flexible video bronchoscopes to fully meet the safety demands of surgeons and their patients.
The bronchoscopes market leaders are mostly top Japanese medical device manufacturers, including Olympus, Fujifilm and Hoya (Pentax). Another key player within this market is Karl Storz, which also manufactures various other endoscopes. Since the launch of the first single-use bronchoscope in 2009 by Ambu, a Danish company that pioneered this technology, the company has rapidly gained market share with its aScope Broncho series. Despite the existence of more manufacturers that have also launched their own single-use video bronchoscopes, Ambu will likely remain the top player within this segment of the market, given its ten-plus-year advantage in product development, sales channels and physicians’ familiarity with its products. Some of Ambu’s competitors include Boston Scientific, Olympus, Verathon and NeoScope.
In addition to completely mitigating any potential infections, the advantages of manufacturers pivoting to the single-use endoscopes market include offering products that require fewer resources for general upkeep. For example, reusable bronchoscopes require healthcare systems to heavily invest in expensive sterilisation equipment, disinfecting reagents, paying for additional reprocessing staff and increased operational overhead. With single-use bronchoscopes, such issues do not apply, so more competitors like Pentax and Karl Storz are expected to develop their own single-use bronchoscopes soon. The single-use flexible bronchoscopes segment has been the primary driver of the overall bronchoscopes market growth in recent years, as its market value has increased by a CAGR of 17% between 2015 and 2022.
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