The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Medical Devices: Cryogenic tissue treatment.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Cryogenic tissue treatment is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Cryogenic tissue treatment, or cryosurgery, is a minimally invasive treatment that utilises extremely low temperatures to destroy diseased tissues such as infected cells and cancer cells. It involves liquid nitrogen flowing into needle-like applicators called cryoprobes. Cryoprobes are directed to treatment sites using magnetic resonance or computed tomography to freeze and destroy damaged tissues. Cryogenic tissue treatment has replaced surgical excision method for removing cancer cells as it is less invasive and thus has fewer chances of post-operative ailments. Most patients recover quickly and with little discomfort after the surgery.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cryogenic tissue treatment.

Key players in cryogenic tissue treatment – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to cryogenic tissue treatment

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Boston Scientific 157 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 102 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 83 Unlock company profile
Aerin Medical 77 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 61 Unlock company profile
Pacira BioSciences 54 Unlock company profile
General Hospital 43 Unlock company profile
CryoTherapeutics 29 Unlock company profile
Recens Medical 26 Unlock company profile
Fractyl Health 23 Unlock company profile
Cryosa 21 Unlock company profile
NeuroPace 20 Unlock company profile
Relievant MedSystems 19 Unlock company profile
Adagio Medical 16 Unlock company profile
Aesthetics BioMedical 15 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 14 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 13 Unlock company profile
Hologic 12 Unlock company profile
Stryker 11 Unlock company profile
CSA Medical 10 Unlock company profile
INNERCOOL therapies 10 Unlock company profile
Serene Medical 9 Unlock company profile
Attune Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Nanobacterie 8 Unlock company profile
CryoVascular Systems 8 Unlock company profile
Toray Industries 7 Unlock company profile
Medical Technologies CZ 7 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 7 Unlock company profile
Heartflow 7 Unlock company profile
Autonomix Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Dominion Aesthetic Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
NuVue Therapeutics 6 Unlock company profile
Hironic 6 Unlock company profile
Antartic Medical 6 Unlock company profile
R2 Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
Acandis 5 Unlock company profile
CoolTech 5 Unlock company profile
Taewoong Medical 5 Unlock company profile
Karo Pharma 5 Unlock company profile
Mayo Clinic 5 Unlock company profile
Amphora Medical 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Boston Scientific is one of the leading patent filers in the field of cryogenic tissue treatment. Some other key patent filers in the field include AbbVie, Massachusetts General Hospital, Aerin Medical, Medtronic, and Pacira BioSciences.

In terms of application diversity, Acandis leads the pack, followed by NuVue Therapeutics and NeuroPace. By means of geographic reach, Fractyl Health holds the top position, followed by Massachusetts General Hospital and Autonomix Medical in second and third spots, respectively.

Cryogenic tissue treatment holds several medical applications including the treatment of infectious skin conditions, weight loss, preventing dementia, preventing the spread of cancer cells, and treating cancer cells. It also holds strong potential in several fields of medicine owing to the storage ease of therapeutic cells and tissues.

Low complication rates, affordability, and feasibility are the factors driving this market.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.