Dive Brief: Stryker increased fourth-quarter sales by 3.2% to about $4.3 billion despite a global slowdown in elective procedures, though it fell short of Wall Street's estimates.

The quarter is slightly down from the results of the third quarter, which the executives attributed to the procedure drop off, but the quarter was a significant improvement over the 2nd quarter's 24.3% sales decline.

The procedure declines varied across geographies but affected about 40-50% of the firm's business, said Wednesday during a fourth-quarter earnings call, Preston Wells, Stryker's vice president of investor relations.

With over 100 Mako systems sold and placed in the quarter, Robotics helped prop the company up and remained successful despite the hit to procedures.

Stryker is the latest medtech that has been impacted by a slowdown in procedures due to a global resurgence of the virus.

All three companies said that the volumes of procedures did not slow down as much as last spring when hospitals in the United States and abroad largely shut down all non-essential treatment.

Just like the orthopedics business of Johnson & Johnson in the quarter, Stryker took hits in knee and hip procedures but saw heavy numbers in trauma.

Executives expect the volumes of procedures to remain low throughout the first quarter of 2021 but to return slowly throughout the rest of this year.

Overall sales of the company for the quarter missed expectations of around $68 million; however, this was "More in-line performance given the more conservative comment we've heard from MedTech peers heading into printing and are not surprised to see Stryker hit harder by its exposure to orthopedics and capital businesses," J.P.

Analysts at Morgan wrote.

Stryker projected an 8-10% organic sales growth compared to the levels in 2019.

Evercore ISI analysts have written that the range could be challenging as the continued decline of the procedure in the first quarter will require the company to compensate for the slowdown in the rest of the year.

About 44% of all Stryker's total knee replacement procedures were done with the Mako robot during the fourth quarter.

The CEO has also been bullish about the continued growth of procedures at outpatient surgical centres.

Over the years, processes shifted to these facilities as payers expanded coverage.

CMS added total hip replacement to the ASC covered procedures list during December, following the addition of total knee replacements in 2019, among other services.

Lobo said that while ASCs are still a smaller Stryker business, these additions to the procedure will further fuel the migration of procedures from hospitals and into the facilities.

Read the original article "Stryker falls short of Q4 sales with elective pullback, robotics a spotlight" at https://www.medtechdive.com/news/stryker-falls-short-of-q4-sales-amid-electives-pullback-robotics-a-bright/594096/