3D-planted implants: Market restraints in India

The need of the hour is to build an ecosystem of public and private establishments, medical institutions and practitioners, additive manufacturing experts and research institutions

Anand Prakasam
Updated: May 7, 2019 04:47:03 PM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

In the 2001 blockbuster Jurassic Park III, when Billy Brennan (Alessandro Nivola) uses a 3D printer to replicate the Velociraptor larynx, the depiction of such technology isn’t far from reality. A more realistic example would be right here in India. Recently the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) designed and 3D printed an implant for a patient suffering from Ameloblastoma. The 3D-printed implant was made in titanium alloy and successfully implanted.

Industrial 3D-printing is poised to disrupt the manufacturing and medical sector in India. Additive manufacturing has several applications and is gaining traction in the biomedical field. The quality of additively manufactured parts is constantly refining, which contributes to their increased use for medical implants in patients. According to Deloitte’s 2016 medical device report, the medical devices market is estimated to grow organically at ~15 percent to $8.6 billion by 2020. Industry estimates indicate a much larger potential to grow at ~28 percent to $50 billion by 2025.

Conventionally, standard orthopedic implants do not always fit the needs of certain patients. Prior to Additive Manufacturing (AM), surgeons had to manually modify implants to make them fit the patient. These implants can eventually erode within the body and patients would need to visit the hospital for follow-up treatments. Compared to conventional implant production methods, AM offers several benefits such as they are more lightweight compared to conventional implants, put less pressure ocn the human body, are customised and cost-effective.

One example of an application in which a customised implant is required is for craniofacial abnormalities. Craniofacial abnormalities are a diverse group of congenital defects that affect many people and can be acquired at birth or due to traumas or tumors. Additive manufacturing helps to eliminate the constraints of free form shapes and structures, making it possible to fabricate implants that conform to the physical and mechanical requirements of the region of implantation.

While the benefits of AM adoption in orthopedic or dental implants are many, we must address some market restraints that need immediate attention. The primary concern is the lack of infrastructure to perform these surgeries. Doctors need to be trained to conduct complex surgical procedures. Government undertakings such as the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) are doing some great work in this area.

The need of the hour is to build an ecosystem of public and private establishments, medical institutions and practitioners, additive manufacturing experts and research institutions. In a country like ours with a population of 1.3 billion, additive manufacturing can bring a massive change in the implant surgical domain.

The author is the country head of EOS India

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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