Australian medical technology manufacturer and 3D printing pioneer Fusetec has launched a $6.8 million Advanced Surgical Training Clinic (ASTC) in Adelaide to use advanced human cadavers to create structures realistic and anatomically accurate bone, skin and muscle.
This solution is safer, more affordable and reusable compared to real human cadavers.
Commercialized with the help of a co-investment grant from AMGC, Fusetec’s breakthrough development in additive manufacturing has resulted in medical products designed and manufactured to simulate a specific pathology. This allows students and surgeons to practice specific procedures on complex areas, such as tumors, broken bones, or faulty heart valves.
“There is a growing global need for safe, affordable, customizable and reusable medical devices – which has accelerated over the past two years due to COVID,” said Fusetec Chief Executive Mark Roe.
“Just as we have seen shortages of certain items over the past two years, COVID has impacted the supply of ‘fresh’ cadavers for medical purposes, moreover, the cost of purchasing them has increased significantly. Fusetec solves this problem and has none of the inherent risks associated with cadavers – there are no harmful bacteria, no strict storage and disposal protocols, and no regulatory constraints.Our medical devices are mass-produced, sterile, readily available and come with pathology on demand.
Used exclusively in the company’s new 25-bed training center, the equipment and teaching facilities are part of Fusetec’s wider ambition which will see the company invest more than $25 million in the expansion of its operations and facilities in South Australia over the next few years.
“The decision to open a training center was a logical next step for Fusetec,” Roe said. “In fact, at the height of the pandemic, we had made many training devices to help with the rapid training of COVID testing staff – I’d like to think we helped save a few nasal passages during this time. “
Worldwide, ASTC is currently the only place surgeons can study complex procedures to increase positive patient outcomes. Students will be able to hone their surgical skills earlier in their careers, rather than waiting until their first year of residency – typically five years after starting their studies.
Additionally, because cadavers are customizable, surgical teams could order training devices that mimic specific anatomical needs to support planning for high-risk surgeries. The facility will be used to program and train surgical robot systems and support the preparation of remote surgeries – where the surgeon is located remote from the patient.
“While surgical practice and outcomes have improved dramatically over time, the use of cadavers, which dates back centuries, has not. Fusetec has, as its name suggests, fused technology with traditional medical practices to improve the training process and patient outcomes,” said National Industry and South Australia Director Michael Sharpe.
“Fusetec’s locally manufactured medical devices and its world-leading training facility demonstrate the power of local manufacturing capability to solve emerging problems and drive global change.”
To learn more about how AMGC works with Fusetec to develop its 3D printed training devices, click here.