3D printing has been around for nearly three decades but its potential to be more than just a tool for creating visual aids is being fully utilised at present. According to reports, some hospitals in India are now using 3D models of their patients to practice surgery before actually performing the task on people.
By practicing on the plastic version of the patient’s body, doctors are able to assess the best and quickest surgical methods suitable for a patient. Anatomiz3D LLP provides Indian hospitals with the technology needed to print actual scans of patients.
“The model assured the team that the patient can be operated upon,” said Firoza Kothari, the CTO and co-founder for Anatomiz3D LLP. “So, a patient who was first rejected for surgery was operated on with the best surgical method thanks to the information provided by the scan.”
Currently, 3D printing is providing assistance to the medical field by providing 3D printed prosthetics, ear moulds that hold the shape of the ear while molecules mature from their extracellular matrix, and dentures.
It is only recently that doctors realised 3D printing models could be used to help train new doctors on how to carry out surgical procedures. “3D printing makes invaluable visualisation aids for surgeries, saving time and money,” stated Gaurav Loyalka, one of the co-founders of 3D printing company Novabeans. “It offers better surgical preparation, reduction of costs, and more opportunities for better patient education.”
Because of this breakthrough, several International companies have shown interest in some of India’s medical facilities and 3D printing ventures, one of which is the Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), the financial arm of technological behemoth Bosch. RBVC plans to invest in Indian startups in an effort to hasten its technological push.
Investing in startups has become popular among some of the big investment companies. While stocks are still the most preferred long-term investment strategy by most small time investors because, as TeraMusu states they provide opportunities for diversifying portfolios on micro market movements, investing in potentially-capable start ups like Uber and AirBnB has proven to be lucrative for the bigger investment firms. 3D printing in the medical field is only just being implemented, and experts predict that it will become a big breakthrough for both its investors and doctors in the coming years.
“The cost depends on the material used for printing, but it is cost efficient when compared to other treatments,” said Dr Ajay Kaul, the chairman for Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery at the BLK Heart Centre. “Prior to this, CT, MRI and X-rays on a plate were used which only portrayed 2D model.”
Apart from the ability 3D models have to help carry out practice surgeries, bio-printing is now being used by some hospitals too. 3DPrint.com suggest it could help with the potential to replace organs in the future such as the liver and kidneys.
“It is the next big thing to create an impact on the healthcare industry,” said Abhinav Singhal, the CEO of 3D-printing company called Oxygen to Innovation. “Additive deposition of spatially controlled cell structures leading to replaceable organs and body parts will be the next major contribution that 3D printing is anticipated to bring about.”
Lisa Hopkins works as a financial adviser by day, and a contributing writer by night. She frequently travels the world to explore new business ideas for her job. In her free time, she likes to jog with her Husky named Matt.