Oct 23, 2015 | By Benedict

As one of the most recognisable names in the medical 3D printing trade, Materialise continue to exploit their excellent reputation in order to spread their talent and experience to new parts of the globe. After creating a life-changing surgical model for a young cancer patient named Helena last week, the additive manufacturing giant’s latest heroics have involved building a pair of 3D printed heart models made specifically for two teenage cardiac patients in Kochi, India, a country which is yet to fully integrate additive manufacturing technology into its medical landscape.

Dr. Mahesh with his first 3D-printed patient-specific models

Krishna, 19, had been diagnosed with a complex congenital heart disease as an infant. Deeming his condition too complex and thus too dangerous for surgery, many doctors and hospitals refused to operate on Krishna. This meant that his childhood was plagued with frequent breathlessness, which became worse over time and eventually prevented him from attending school. Krishna, much like ourselves, became obsessed with 3D printing a few years ago. The young Indian even built his own 3D printer from a DIY kit last year. In a separate case, Izam, 15, was diagnosed with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries (CCTGA). Although dissimilar to one another, both cases represented highly complex structural defects of the heart, too challenging and too risky for traditional procedures. Thankfully, Materialise’s HeartPrint service, which provides 3D printed cardiovascular models from medical image data, was designed for exactly these sorts of cases.

15-year-old Izam, who underwent successful heart surgery thanks to 3D Printing technology

Both patients underwent a full cardiac evaluation at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi, under the close supervision of Dr. Mahesh Kappanayil, a paediatric cardiologist, and Dr. Rajesh Kannan, a radiologist. After some consideration, the paediatric cardiac team decided that the use of 3D printing technology could assist Krishna and Izam’s respective cases. With the help of Materialise, the medical team proceeded to create a physical model of the two patients' hearts, in order to make their pre-operative planning more informed and precise.

With the aid of Materialise and their HeartPrint service, Krishna's and Izam's medical imaging scans were converted into 3D printed models, providing a perfect representation of the anatomy of the two organs and their particular defects. Thanks to both surgical skill and the assistance given by Materialise, both surgeries were a resounding success. Surgeons at AIMS operated successfully on both Krishna and Izam in August 2015, after examining the 3D printed heart models in great detail prior to each operation. The success of the two operations will have come as no surprise to Krishna, with his first-hand experience in the accuracy and creative potential 3D printing.

Looking inside Krishna's heart

Flexible 3D-printed replica of Izam's heart

Cardiologist Dr. Mahesh is fully convinced that 3D Printing could be used to vastly improve medical operations across India. "Sometimes, all the traditional ways of evaluating and planning treatment still fall short,” he explained. “Using these precise models to actually look 'inside' the heart, understand the lesions and precisely plan the operations much before the actual surgery was a definite game-changer. I'm proud to be an early adopter of 3D Printing for medical applications in India.”

Materialise were also delighted that their products could be used so effectively in a relatively new arena. "For Materialise, these two cases are living proof of our mission statement: to work for a better and healthier world," said Vickneswaran Renganathan, Business Development Manager, who was responsible for facilitating communication between the surgical team at AIMS and the engineering team at Materialise. "I felt very proud that my role at Materialise allowed me to impact patients' lives in such a positive way.” We look forward to hearing about Materialise’s future medical projects, and their ventures further afield.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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