Home Research & Education 3D printed facial Implants can help patients with mucormycosis

3D printed facial Implants can help patients with mucormycosis

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed 3D-printed facial implants for patients suffering from mucormycosis.

This disease has particularly spread among COVID-19 patients as well as people with uncontrolled diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions. The researchers have developed a method to produce facial implants using 3D printing technology, which have already been used in around 50 patients from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

In partnership with ZorioX Innovation Labs, a start-up founded in Chennai, the institute uses metal 3D printing to create these implants. Mucormycosis, often known for its devastating effect on patients’ facial features, leads to a significant loss of facial structures in severe cases, severely affecting the mental and emotional health of those affected. Reconstruction of these facial features is therefore a critical need, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen an increase in the number of mucormycosis cases.

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.”

IIT Madras and ZorioX Innovation Labs are working closely together to refine this technology and make it widely accessible. This approach offers hope to many whose lives have been affected by mucormycosis and exemplifies the advanced use of 3D printing technologies in medicine.

Speaking about this initiative, Dr. Karthik Balaji, CEO, ZorioX Innovation labs, said, “Post-Covid there has been an increase in number of black fungus cases. To save the lives of the patient, 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 the oral and maxillofacial surgeons to restore the faces and give them back their smile.”

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