IIT Madras researchers are also identifying patients who cannot afford costly imported implants and giving these implants free of cost under the campaign called #Right2Face
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) researchers have developed 3D-printed face implants for patients suffering from Black Fungus, which has been reported in COVID-19 patients as well as those with uncontrolled diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions. Around 50 implants have already been done on patients from economically weaker sections.
The institute has partnered with ZorioX Innovation Labs, a start-up founded by dental surgeons in Chennai, to implement this initiative, which is based on metal 3D Printing or additive manufacturing.
Elaborating on this technology developed by IIT Madras, Dr Murugaiyan Amirthalingam, Associate Professor, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, IIT Madras, said, “Additive manufacturing (3D printing) has already emerged as a viable and cost-effective, net shape manufacturing process for low volume production of complex body implants with specific custom-made designs. Extensive research activities are already being carried out in IIT Madras to commercialise this technology for printing patient-specific implants in stainless steel, Ti-6Al-4V and Co-Cr-Mo alloys.”
Dr Murugaiyan Amirthalingam added, “Using unique in-house algorithms, a patient’s MRI/CT data is converted to printable CAD format and custom implants are printed from medical-grade titanium using an indigenously-built laser powder bed facility in IIT Madras. This #Right2Face initiative aims to help poor and needy patients with patient-specific custom maxillofacial implants to treat black fungus patients.”
Speaking about this initiative, Dr Karthik Balaji, CEO, ZorioX Innovation labs, said, “Post-Covid there has been an increase in the number of black fungus cases. To save the lives of the patients, a lot of facial bones had to be removed. These patients are mostly breadwinners of the family and are now confined within four walls because of their facial deformity. #Right2face movement is aimed to help these needy patients in association with oral and maxillofacial surgeons to restore their faces and give them back their smiles. “
What makes this initiative unique is that the IIT Madras team can print the implant exactly to match the patient’s face. The Researchers get the patients’ CT Data from which we design a specific implant that will suit the patient perfectly. IIT Madras is among the first to print such implants for black fungus patients specifically.
IIT Madras researchers are also identifying patients who cannot afford costly imported implants and giving these implants free of cost under the campaign called #Right2Face.
Zoriox Innovations Labs, with whom IIT Madras has a tie-up, takes part in the surgical procedures while IIT Madras handles the Design and 3D Printing. The implants are made of medical-grade titanium, which is commonly used for reconstructive procedures.