Life is unpredictable. A young girl named Aaska Shah recently fractured her left hand’s elbow while playing. A quick scan showed that she had several fractures that were quite complex to treat: indeed, according to the doctor, she would not have been able to easily move with an implant. To keep the bone pieces in place by clamps, she needed a surgery of the elbow – which seemed more dangerous for her.
According to Dr Jignesh Pandya, a well-known orthopedist based in Surat (India) that finally took in charge the 14-year-old girl, following the denial of several doctors, the operation raised several challenges like deciding the clamp length and attaching points in the bone.
In the search for an alternative, Dr. Pandya found out that 3D printing had already been helpful in similar cases. He therefore decided to collaborate with Agam Shah from STPL3D, India-based 3D expert, who assembled a team of clinicians, imaging experts, engineers, and software designers to produce a patient-specific printed fractured elbow bone from resin to guide the surgical process.
“The doctors repeated the exercise with a 3D model and reported greater confidence with approx. 25% lower operation table time in the same procedure that was considered too dangerous based on the imaging technology available then. It’s amazing how fast things can change.
It has been challenging to recreate models with tissue characteristics similar to the human pathological specimens. This will only be possible with a firm understanding of the tissue characteristics required of the model and the capacity of the printer to blend composite materials to mimic human tissue. The type of print material which can be printed is dependent on the type of printer used”, said STPL 3D.
Looks like 3D Printing is just at its beginnings in India and we’re not done hearing about it yet.
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