“I’m a big advocate of the patient-specific solution. And obviously one of the few ways in which that can come about is with 3D printing,” said Dr. Mohammed when we spoke to him about medical applications of additive manufacturing. “One of the big challenges when you’re talking about medical devices is that everyone’s an individual. We are all different. So, what works best with one person may not work optimally with another.”
He has found that the beauty of 3D printing is the convergence of the three most important factors for medical design: technology, manufacturing and materials. “The three form this kind of Venn diagram and that sweet spot in the middle is where all the fun stuff happens, that’s where we’re going to see all the innovations,” said Dr. Mohammed.
For example, he has found that most standard, off-the-shelf thumb splints do not fit well, which means patients often do not use them and the underlying condition is not treated. But by combining suitable technology, manufacturing and materials, Dr. Mohammed could create a support that is not only more aesthetically pleasing – one of the most important facets for anyone who has ever worn a splint – but also comfortable and breathable.