3D theatre

3D printing is still a relatively new concept in Africa. It is yet to be commercially explored due to factors such as high operation costs. So to imagine it being employed in surgery seems like the stuff of medical TV series. Yet a young Kenyan man is already doing it.

Chris Muraguri, the C.E.O of Micrive Infinite has introduced 3D printing into the medical field. He aims to integrate the technology as part of treatment and planning of
head and neck surgeries by 2019. Micrive Infinite provides customised prostheses in addition to medical 3D printing.

3D printing allows the surgeon to plan the surgery ahead of the operation, unlike in usual cases where surgeons can’t do much until they get to the operating table. This in turn reduces theatre time, wound exposure, loss of fluids from the patient, time taken for patients to recover and bed occupancy time. This leads to reduced cost of treatment and allows more patients to be attended to.

Having a physical 3D replica of the area to be operated on affords surgeons the opportunity to rehearse surgeries beforehand. They can make decisions on where to excise, how deep to cut and pre-bend corrective plates before going to theatre.

Recently, Chris’ technology was used on a patient suffering from a recurring facial tumour. They had undergone several surgeries but the tumour persistently grew back. The challenge was that the tumour was too close to the brain stem. But using a 3D replica, surgeons were able to pinpoint with precision where their blades would pass. The tumour was completely removed and the patient is now in recovery.

This is truly the new frontier in healthcare. Chris reports that using this technology has achieved up to 20% reduction in theatre time. With such a level of genius, one might think he is an old medical professional with tons of years of experience. On the contrary, he is a second year student of medicine. Such brilliant young minds need all the support they can get to ensure their ventures grow beyond their countries’ borders. Well done Chris!




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