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Indian Researchers Develop Implants To Fix Facial Deformities Caused By Black Fungus

LUCID, the company behind the implants, is producing customized implants with 3D printing technology.

NAGPUR, India — Indian researchers have developed customized implants for patients who faced facial tissue loss due to mucormycosis, a rare fungal infection. The developments come from LUCID Implants located in Nagpur, a city in India’s southwestern state, Maharashtra. 

LUCID Implants has become the first Indian company to produce Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) based customized implants keeping a patient’s unique facial anatomy in mind with advanced 3D printing technologies and virtual surgical planning.

Polyether ether ketone is used in several industries, like electrical, automotive, and aerospace. 

“At LUCID, our vision is to constantly innovate through intensive research in the field of biomedical engineering and develop world-class medical products,” said Pranav Sapkal, Founder and Director of LUCID Implants. 

“These facial implants grant the infected patients an opportunity to reconstruct the facial deformities caused as an aftereffect of mucormycosis surgery.”

In May, the Indian government released a blog post to raise awareness regarding Black Fungus. 

As a brutal second wave of Covid-19 swept India in April and May, an accompanying spike in mucormycosis in patients further aggravated their woes and burdened the healthcare infrastructure. 

As of June end, the country reported more than 40,000 cases of Black Fungus. More than three-fourths of these patients had Covid-19 infection, and more than half of the patients had diabetes.

In a significant majority, the regions most affected by Mucormycosis included the upper jaw and orbital region below the eye. 

To prevent the further spread of the infection, removal of infected facial tissues was the line of treatment adopted by surgeons. While this procedure saved hundreds of lives, it also resulted in facial deformities.

Even as researchers and healthcare companies worldwide are working to find a solution, LUCID Implants came up with an innovative answer to ensure that facial deformity does not leave a deep scar on the patients’ dignity and self-confidence. 

The solution is also cost-effective compared with other surgical options available to patients.

Surgery is performed on patients three or four months after the infection, where custom-made implants are used for facial reconstruction. 

The implants are medically bio-compatible, that is, completely verified and safe to be used as a replacement of bone tissue due to their similarity in mechanical properties.

“The recent advances in 3D printing technology and word-class process optimization allow LUCID to provide these innovative implant solutions at affordable prices,” said Sapkal.

India has been showing a downward trajectory in Covid-19 cases and reported 38,792 cases in the past 24 hours. 

“Black Fungus has emerged as a lethal threat in India due to poor health infrastructure and improper patient management,” said leading oral and maxillofacial surgeons Sharadindu Kotrashetti of KLE VK Institute of Dental Sciences, Belgaum, and Nitin Bhola of Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences, Wardha in a joint statement.

“Facial anatomy involves complex shapes, and reconstruction cannot be practically achieved by autogenous grafts. Patient-specific implants also help reduce the surgery time, which is required in the case of patients suffering from Covid-19. This innovation by LUCID Implants serves as a ray of hope for thousands of patients.”

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Praveen Pramod Tewari)

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