From the timely manufacturing of custom-designed implants and prosthetics to the creation of bespoke anatomical parts for surgical planning and training, 3D printing technology has turned out to be very useful within the medical sector in several ways. In addition to not only helping in saving the lives successfully, the latter application also assists the doctors in becoming acquainted with specific patient’s anatomies before the actual surgery. As per the founder of French startup Biomodex, Thomas Marchand, this is precisely what his company has planned to do.
Marchand described in his recent speech that over 400,000 deaths are caused by preventable medical errors in the United States alone every year, thereby making medical errors the third foremost cause of death in the country. However, he has faith in his startup Biomodex, co-founded by Sidarth Radjou, that it is capable of helping doctors by performing pre-surgical simulations on almost exact replicas of the patient’s organs.
Biomodex, based in Paris and Boston, puts forward a method to 3D print patient’s specific organs with the help of medical data from MRIs and ultrasounds. The 3D printed organs by Biomodex, unlike other 3D printed organs witnessed in the past, are capable of imitating different human tissues and organic textures owing to a multi-material 3D printing system, a feature which lets surgeons to more accurately plan operations and surgical incisions.
Biomodex’s technology can be utilized in medical training practices in addition to patient specific surgical planning such as it offers medical facilities a functional alternative to standard simulation processes, which usually consist of operating on cadavers, or even animals. These, of course, come with several ethical issues, as well as more complicated logistics in terms of storing and preserving. But, the 3D printed plastic body parts do not have an expiry date and can be stored easily.
Marchand also said, “Another advantage is that we can choose the illness or problem the surgeon wants to practice. For example, we can reproduce a specific arm or leg fracture when a teacher wants to give a particular lesson. Finally, 3D simulation of bodies is not only an alternative, but it is often the only method of training, particularly for pediatric illnesses, whether congenital or not. This is because the law does not allow minors to donate their bodies to medical science.”
Realistic models for cardiac, orthopedic, and Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) procedures are being manufactured by Biomodex at present, however, the company plans to expand its services to all medical disciplines as they grow. Moreover, Biomodex works closely with medical practitioners and has hired a number of specialist engineers who are in charge of analyzing biomechanical properties of the parts to make them as texturally and visually similar to the real thing as possible in order to improve their models and build the most life-like 3D printed body parts.
Biomodex was instituted in 2014 and earlier this year, it has successfully closed an investment round having raised $3.6 million. Furthermore, it has won the top prize in the E-Health category at the EDF Pulse Awards for its potentials. According to Marchand, to further expand its business in the United States, the startup will be launching another financing round in September 2017.