This year's bear market crushed many companies that otherwise have solid businesses and excellent prospects.

Take, for instance, medical device giants Intuitive Surgical (ISRG 0.46%) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT 2.88%). Neither has escaped the sell-off, and both are lagging the market this year. But there are excellent reasons to think they could recover as early as next year, and even if they don't, patient investors will want to take the opportunity to buy their shares at a discount and hold them for a while.

Let's look closer at what makes these companies such excellent options.

1. Intuitive Surgical

Despite a terrible performance this year, Intuitive Surgical seems to be recovering -- that is, if its performance in the past three months is any indication. One key reason why the maker of the da Vinci robotic surgical system is on the rebound is that it continues to deliver decent financial results despite the challenging economic environment.

Intuitive Surgical's revenue increased by about 11% year over year in the third quarter to $1.56 billion, while its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) remained flat at $1.19. There is another reason why Intuitive Surgical is on a solid run. In October, it announced a $1 billion share repurchase program. Stock buybacks can impact a company's stock in several ways. First, having fewer shares on the market can boost a company's stock price.

Second, it shows the confidence that management -- which has an up-close view of the business -- has in the company's prospects. That's a good sign in the eyes of investors, who often respond by bidding up a company's shares. Intuitive Surgical could carry this momentum into the new year.

Another piece of good news for the company is that supply chain issues, which have disrupted its placement of da Vinci systems, seem to be easing. That could contribute to the sale of more of its crown jewel next year. Beyond these dynamics that could impact Intuitive Surgical in the next 12 months, the healthcare giant is well-positioned for long-term growth. 

Robotic-assisted surgery confers important benefits such as shorter hospital stays, less scarring, less bleeding, and faster recovery. The company has an installed base of 7,364 da Vinci systems worldwide -- and growing. The company's revenue will expand as there are more procedures performed with its system, which will increase the demand for instruments and accessories it sells.

Procedure growth will also likely occur due to long-term trends such as the world's aging population. People will need medical services in their older days. Further, Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci system costs between $500,000 and $2.5 million, not to mention countless hours of training to master. The company benefits from high switching costs as a result, a solid competitive edge.

In short, the company has what it needs to consistently deliver robust financial results and stock market returns for a long time

2. Abbott Laboratories

Abbott Laboratories is a medical device specialist with a diversified business. Some of its operations have encountered headwinds this year, including a recall of its baby formula products. The healthcare giant's financial results also haven't been spectacular. Total sales decreased by 4.7% year over year in the third quarter to $10.4 billion.

The company's adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.15 for the quarter, down from the $1.40 reported in the year-ago period. How can Abbott rebound next year? First, note that many of the company problems are temporary. Its sales decline in the third quarter was partly due to unfavorable currency exchange fluctuations. Putting that aside, the company's total revenue climbed by 1.3% year over year.

That's still not that impressive, but it's a lot better than its reported sales drop. Then there is the impact the recall of its baby formula had on its top line -- and on its public image. The company initially stopped producing baby formula at some of its facilities due to these dynamics, but it resumed production during the third quarter.

Then there are year-over-year comparisons in Abbott's diagnostics business. It reported stronger sales of coronavirus tests last year. In 2023, the company could still lose ground in this area as the pandemic (hopefully) continues to fade. But the impact of COVID-related sales will also weigh less on the company overall as its medical device business continues to grow thanks partly to new launches.

Abbott Laboratories expects various new products to aid its progress, including its FreeStyle Libre 3, a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that helps diabetes patients keep their blood glucose levels in check. The company recently started the full rollout of the FreeStyle Libre 3 in the U.S. Abbott's FreeStyle Libre devices already have an installed base of about 4.5 million users worldwide.

It is arguably one of the most promising growth drivers for Abbott Laboratories. But the company is also making progress in other areas, including within its structural heart business. Abbott's stock market performance hasn't been that much worse than that of the broader market this year. And with a booming medical device business and troubles related to its baby formula in the rearview mirror, it should have a stronger showing in 2023.

See beyond next year

There can be no guarantee that Abbott Laboratories and Intuitive Surgical will manage to turn things around in 2023. A recession could hit, or either corporation could face company-specific issues that will sink their share prices. But these two healthcare giants are leaders in their respective fields and boast plenty of growth left. That's why investors should consider adding both to their portfolios regardless of what happens in 2023.