Pharmaceutical & healthcare sectors need to adopt 3D technology to improve medical science: Tanmay Shah

Nandita Vijay, BengaluruTuesday, October 3, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors will need to embrace 3D technology, not only for convenience but also for the improvement of medical science in the future, said Tanmay Shah, Head of Innovations, Imaginarium Life.
3D printing is a revolutionary manufacturing technology with an incredible capacity to turn virtually any design into a physical object at the click of a button. It is extensively used globally for prototyping of ideas, he added.
Healthcare is one of the faster growing markets to adopt 3D printing technology. It finds a number of applications in medicine; to produce patient-specific anatomical models, surgical guides, jigs and fixtures, customised implants, prosthetics and device testing prototypes. In fact, recent developments in bioprinting have led doctors to create functional organs by 3D printing in living tissue. The use of anatomical models has become integral in surgery planning, Shah told Pharmabiz in email.
The ability to perform and perfect surgery on a 3D printed medical model prior to the actual procedure can directly reduce complications. It decreases surgery time and improves the recovery time. Another application is patient-specific implants which are customized to fit the shape and size of a patient’s anatomy. As of now, this can only be done for hard tissue or the bones, he said.
“However, the coolest application of 3D printing is definitely orthotics and prosthetics. Because 3D printing helps in mass customisation, we can use it for application such as the hand cast, where instead of an itchy plaster, we can make an airy plaster which also looks fantastic,” said Shah.
Imaginarium Life provides patient specific anatomical models by taking up DICOM data from MRI and CT scans. It converts these into exact replicas of a patient’s anatomy which is used by doctors for diagnosis and pre-operative surgeries. It works with a variety of biocompatible material that can temporarily come in contact with internal organs without any hazardous repercussions.
So long the challenge was to handle the Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) a  complication of Ventricular Septum Defect, where an abnormal opening in the ventricular septum allows purified and impure blood to mix. Currently, the 2D DICOM images cannot convey the complexity of these cases where an exact picture of the location and size of the opening is needed to decide on the corrective course of action. Medical experts approached us to create an exact model of the patient’s heart, that could be dissected to show the family the true nature of the problem and decide on how the surgery needed to proceed, he said.
A digital model of the patient’s heart was created , along with the virtual patch generation. It was 3D printed as a physical model which outlined the exact shape, size and location of the defect. The 3D geometry made studying the turbulence or linearity of blood flow extremely convenient and helped visualize the various possible outcomes of different surgical approaches, said Shah.