KOCHI: Dr Mahesh Kappanayil, Professor of Paediatric Cardiology at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi was among the innovators whose work in the field of application of 3D Printing technology in the field of congenital heart surgery was showcased at the “Festival of Innovations 2016” at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, from 12th-19th March 2016, organised by the Office of the President of India and the National Innovation Foundation (NIF).
The event was aimed at recognising and fostering the spirit of innovation in various spheres from across the country. The festival was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee, and the deliberations were attended by Union Ministers, senior government officials, heads of major scientific bodies (Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Science & Technology), and by grassroots innovators.
Dr Mahesh and the pediatric cardiac unit at AIMS have been among the pioneers in India in using 3D printing technology for clinical benefit of patients, and for research and training. In a path-breaking effort in 2015, three children with extremely complex heart diseases were successfully operated at AIMS after creating 3D printed replicas of their hearts using their cardiac MRI scans. These precise 3D-printed heart models, created by AIMS in collaboration with Materialise (Belgium) and Sahas LLP (Mumbai) enabled the surgeons to understand the nature of the defects in great detail, allowing them to meticulously plan the complex surgeries.
While 3D printing technology has been in existence for nearly two decades, with applications in manufacturing industry, it is only recently that the technology is being applied in the area of healthcare. The technology is set to revolutionise medicine by allowing surgical planning, customized prosthetics and implants, development of newer medical devices, as well as medical education and training. Biological 3D printing may in the future lead to creation of patient-specific organs and tissues for therapy and transplantation. AIMS intends to take leadership in this exciting area by developing a center of excellence in 3D printing for healthcare and medical research.