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Malaysian biomedical centre's 'major breakthrough' using Stratasys 3D printing

AvantiKumar | Nov. 14, 2013
University of Malaya's Centre for Biomedical and Technology Integration collaboration with Stratasys Asia Pacific could help change the surgical planning and training landscape.

CBMTI Lead photo modified

Photo - (From left) Professor Dr. Vicknes Waran, Professor and Consultant Neurosurgeon, Universiti Malaya Medical Centre; Yuwaraj Kumar Balakrishnan, Operations Manager, CBMTI; and Professor Dato' Dr. Zainal Ariff Abdul Rahman, Professor, Department of Oro-Maxillofacial Surgical and Medical Sciences.


By using Stratasys Asia Pacific's 3D printing technology, the University of Malaya's Centre for Biomedical and Technology Integration [CBMTI] has increased its production capacity by 40 percent amounting to a major breakthrough in surgical training, it said.

During the showing of lifelike multi-material biomodels that simulate endoscopic neurosurgical procedures, CBMTI's operations manager Yuwaraj Kumar Balakrishnan said the use of this technology could help change the surgical planning and training landscape.

"Creating custom biomodels used to be an extensive and painstaking process," said Balakrishnan, adding that CBMTI specialises in creating custom biomodels for research and surgical training.

"To closely mimic human organs, the process can sometimes take up to a few weeks, which proved to be a slow and costly method," he said. "Stratasys 3D Printers are the ideal platform for innovation."

"We have gone from being only able to mold titanium plates for cranial implants to being able to create biomodels with pathology from actual patient imaging data," said Balakrishnan. "Navigation and endoscopic neurosurgical procedures are simulated as closely as possible with these 3D printed models. This is a major breakthrough from both research and training perspectives."

 'Lifelike realism'

He said the adoption of the multi-material Stratasys Objet Connex500 and Objet Eden350 3D Printers allowed production of models that feature different textures and densities over the surface and throughout the interior, simulating human body parts accurately, efficiently and cost-effectively creating realistic models.

"The process begins with data from CT [computerised tomography] and MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] scans converting into imaging data with material characteristics assigned to each portion," said Balakrishnan. "The 3D printers then use the data to build physical models that are accurate spatially and anatomically."  

In addition to helping increase production capacity by 40 percent, the Objet Connex 3D printer is used to create prototypes for university research projects and manufacture bio-models with lifelike realism, he said. The Eden 3D printer is used for surgical planning with the focus on devices used during surgery.

The process of fabricating end-use products directly from imaging data also allows scaled-down versions for quick testing, conserving materials when full size is not required, added Balakrishnan.

Stratasys general manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Jonathan Jaglom, said, "At Stratasys, we aim to offer cutting-edge technologies assisting industries to innovate by opening the door to endless possibilities. I am honored that Stratasys is able to play a role in contributing and shaping the healthcare & bio-modeling industry."

Centre for Biomedical and Technology Integration (CBMTI) was set up by the University Malaya as a spin off company in 2012 with the intention of commercialising and developing the use of 3D printing in Medicine.  


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