Credit: IIT Madras and ZorioX Innovation labs

Black fungus is a rare, dangerous infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. It often affects the sinuses, lungs, skin, and brain. One of the most devastating effects of this disease is the loss of facial features, which can have a profound impact on the patient’s mental and emotional well-being.

To treat COVID-19 patients who suffer from this disease, as well as patients with uncontrolled diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) researchers have developed 3D-printed facial implants.

The Institute has partnered with ZorioX Innovation labs, a start-up founded by dental surgeons in Chennai (India), to manufacture these implants.

The fungus responsible for mucormycosis can invade the tissues of the face, causing necrosis and disfigurement. In severe cases, patients may lose their nose, eyes, or even their entire face. Furthermore, the loss of vital organs can affect a patient’s ability to breathe, eat, and communicate, making it difficult to perform everyday activities.

Reports suggest that about 60,000 mucormycosis cases have been registered in India after COVID-19. Therefore, the reconstruction of faces lost due to black fungus is urgent.

At the manufacturing level, the team at ZorioX made use of metal 3D printing to produce the implants. Dr. Murugaiyan Amirthalingam, Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras, explains: “Using unique in-house algorithms, a patient’s MRI/CT data is converted to printable CAD format and custom implants are printed from medical-grade titanium using an indigenously-built laser powder bed facility in IIT Madras. This #Right2Face initiative aims to help poor and needy patients with patient-specific custom maxillofacial implants to treat black fungus patients.

With the patients’ CT Data, the research team can design and produce a tailor-made facial implant. Thanks to the campaign #Right2Face, patients who cannot afford to pay imported implants, benefit from the 3D printed ones free of charge.

Speaking about this initiative, Dr. Karthik Balaji, CEO, ZorioX Innovation labs, said, “Post-Covid there has been an increase in number of black fungus cases. To save the lives of the patient, a lot of facial bones had to be removed. These patients are mostly breadwinners of the family and are now confined within four walls because of their facial deformity. #Right2face movement is aimed to help these needy patients in association with oral and maxillofacial surgeons to restore their faces and give them back their smile.

Remember, you can post job opportunities in the AM Industry on 3D ADEPT Media free of charge or look for a job via our job board. Make sure to follow us on our social networks and subscribe to our weekly newsletter : Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn! If you want to be featured in the next  issue of our digital magazine or if you hear a story that needs to be heard, make sure to send it  to