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The future of healthcare: 3D Printing

Osteo3d is a Bengaluru based startup, that makes medical models and guides using 3D printing

A Bengaluru based startup is changing the healthcare industry, one step at a time. Osteo3d makes models that help surgeons to plan and execute strategies in an efficient manner. The startup first designed and manufactured a customized helmet for an infant in 2015. The infant was a five month old girl from Karnataka who needed a skull expansion surgery. Post surgery, the doctors employed a helmet which exerted pressure on the specific parts of the skull that help growth in the desired direction. 

Osteo3d designs as well as fabricates the 3D printed pre surgery models and guides, these are specially designed for dentistry work, maxillofacial surgery and neurosurgeries. The seven member team has designed a proprietary cloud based platform that allows the registered doctors to upload their CT scans as well as MRI records of the patients. Once uploaded, the platform brings a three dimensional image of the specific part of the patient’s anatomy and the cost of creating a 3D print model is mentioned alongside. Because of their own proprietary software, Osteo3d is able to create 3D printings at an affordable rate. With the third party 3D printers and the entire process from design to fabrication, Osteo3d fabricates all the models in house and has them delivered within 5-7 days. All the materials are ISO certified which guarantee high quality.

With the use of 3D printing, the surgeons can have access to the physical model of the deformity in a patient. This will allow them to know where exactly the problem lies, which, in turn, will lead to increased accuracy and a reduction in anesthesia administration during surgeries. The benefits of 3D printing clearly outweigh the costs.

Similarly, Osteo3d has custom made 3D printed surgical guides that enable surgeons to achieve a higher level of precision. The guide fits exactly over the part of the patient’s body, where the doctor needs to cut. It will include some lines etched out so the doctor knows where to make the incision. These guides are made of bio compatible materials and require a higher level of precision, which  is also the reason why they cost more. Osteo3d has 120 doctors working with them and it has been able to achieve 350 plus cases in a very short span. The start up received a Rs. 50 lakh grant from the Indian government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in February 2015.

Recently, the Government of Karnataka granted Osteo3d Rs.49 lakh under the Idea2POC, or idea-to-proof-of-concept fund, for biotech startups. The adoption of 3D printing is not yet widespread and it will take time for healthcare to adapt to the concept. Due to the lack of awareness among the doctors and the patients, these models and guides have not gained the required momentum. Not many are aware that these models are available at an affordable rate and has many more benefits than any other form of printing.

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