Malayali engineering graduates develop new tech for surgical planning

The technology is also used to teach medical students about human anatomy.
Prof C Kesavadas, Dr Dinesh Raja P, Dr Arun V and Aloysius Bejoy
Prof C Kesavadas, Dr Dinesh Raja P, Dr Arun V and Aloysius BejoyPhoto | Express

KOCHI: With proper guidance, support and determination, anyone can be innovative. This was proven true once again when a team of Malayali engineering graduates developed a software system to revolutionise medical diagnostics and surgeries.

Over the past year, the team from Barton Hill College in Thiruvananthapuram have been tirelessly working to develop a 3D imaging software to enhance the accuracy and efficiency of medical care.

“The idea struck us when Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology approached our college for collaborations. We knew that our team, hailing from the electronics and communication department, had much to contribute here. So we did, by way of our final project. We connected with professor Kesavadas to understand the inadequacies and develop a solution,” says Aloysius Bejoy, a final-year BTech student at the college and the team lead.

The technology works by converting CT scan files into 3D images, which can then be projected onto a white screen or other surfaces using 3D glasses. This allows for detailed visualisation of various organs, enabling accurate identification of cancers, delicate nerves, bone fractures, and more. The technology is also used to teach medical students about human anatomy.

C Kesavadas from the Department of Radiology at the Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute has been instrumental in applying this technology to medical practices. The technical support for the project was provided by EMBEDITE, a local company.

The software’s potential became clear when Dr Dinesh Raja P from Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute suggested its application in cardiology. “Feedback from an actual doctor provided more insights, leading to further customisation and improvement. Now, the system can visualise the heart and associated structures with clarity,” Aloysius says.

The software addresses the limitations of 2D imaging by offering detailed 3D visualisations, making minute details visible that are otherwise missed. “Initially, this initiative was aimed at neuro-anatomy teaching. Our founder, Dr M S Valiathan, envisioned a tool for visualisation in medical education and recommended collaborating with the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. IIT Hyderabad developed the initial visualisation tool, which we used to teach brain anatomy. This was the starting point. Realising its potential for surgical planning, Barton Hill Government Engineering College took over the software development. Dr Arun Anirudhan V from the Biomedical Technology Wing also collaborated, leading to an MOU with Barton Hill,” Dr Kesavadas says.

He further explains, “The software was further developed and tested with engineering students, demonstrating its utility for surgical planning and teaching cardiac anatomy. Originally a neuro-anatomy project, it expanded to clinical use, focusing on cardiac and abdominal surgeries. The software can now be used to teach surgical procedures, with plans to extend its application to other organs.”

The institute and Barton Hill College are considering getting a patent for the system. Efforts are also on to make the system portable for wider use.

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