Australian medtech manufacturer and 3D printing pioneer, Fusetec, has launched a $6.8 million Advanced Surgical Training Clinic (ASTC) in Adelaide to use advanced manufactured human cadavers to create realistic and anatomically accurate bone, skin, and muscle structures.
This solution is safer and more affordable and reusable when compared to actual human cadavers.
Commercialised with the assistance of a co-investment grant from AMGC, Fusetec’s ground-breaking development in the field of additive manufacturing has resulted in medical products that are designed and manufactured to simulate specific pathology. This enables students and surgeons to practice specific procedures on complex areas, such as, tumours, broken bones, or defective heart valves.
“There is a growing need globally for safe, affordable, customisable, and reusable medical devices – which has accelerated in the last two years due to COVID,” Fusetec’s chief executive officer Mark Roe said.
“Much like we have seen shortages of certain items this past two years, COVID has impacted the supply of ‘fresh’ cadavers for medical purposes, furthermore, the cost of purchasing them has risen substantially. Fusetec’s solution solves this and does not have any of the inherent risks associated with cadavers – there are no harmful bacteria, no strict storage and disposal protocols, and no regulatory burdens. Our medical devices are mass-produced, sterile, readily available, and come with pathology on-demand.”
Used exclusively at the company’s new 25-bed training centre, the teaching equipment and facility are part of Fusetec’s broader ambition which will see the company invest over $25 million into expanding its operations and facilities in South Australia over the coming years.
“The decision to open a training facility was a logical next step for Fusetec,” Roe said. “In fact, during the height of the pandemic we had manufactured numerous training devices to assist with the rapid training of COVID testing staff – I’d like to think we helped save a few nasal passages over that time.”
Globally, ASTC is currently the only location where surgeons can study complex procedures to increase positive outcomes for patients. Students will be able to hone their surgical skills earlier in their careers, rather than waiting for the first year of their residency – generally five years into their studies.
Additionally, because the cadavers are customisable, surgical teams could order training devices mimicking specific anatomical needs to support the planning of high-risk surgeries. The facility will be used to program and train surgical robot systems and support preparation for remote surgeries – where the surgeon is remotely located to the patient.
“While surgical practice and outcomes have improved immeasurably 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,” Industry and South Australia national director Michael Sharpe said.
“Fusetec’s locally manufactured medical devices and world-leading training facility demonstrate the ability of local manufacturing capability to solve emerging issues and drive global change.”
To learn more about how AMGC is working with Fusetec to develop its world-leading 3D printed training devices, click here.