This interview is part of our new AI in Healthcare series, where we interview the world's top thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between AI and healthcare.
In this interview, we speak with Ryan Kyle, Marketing Manager at axial3D, to understand how his company is using AI to transform healthcare, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What's the story behind your company? Why and how did you begin?
RK: axial3D specializes in medical 3D printing to advance both standards and efficiency of surgical intervention. The largest bottleneck for the routine production of 3D printed anatomical models is the availability of radiologists or biomedical engineers to segment the images. axial3D applies machine learning techniques to augment and automate the process of segmenting the 2D images and turning them into 3D printable objects.
This allows any surgeon globally to access 3D printing. axial3D’s mission is to improve access to 3D printing for surgeons globally and drive increased efficiency and reduced costs of medical 3D printing. 3D printing has been shown to offer significant improvements to pre-operative planning for surgical interventions. Gartner predicts that by 2021, 25 percent of surgeons globally will use 3D printed models to plan for surgery.
As medical 3D printing enters the mainstream, an industry-wide lack of software solutions to facilitate access to the technology and ensure standardization still poses a challenge to many healthcare providers. It keeps them from taking advantage of patient care improvements and cost savings achieved by using this innovative technology.
2. Please describe your use case and how axial3D uses artificial intelligence:
RK: When faced with a complex case, often surgeons do not get the necessary information to confidently plan the surgical procedure from the medical images alone. A lack of surgical planning results in longer surgery times, a lack of clarity among surgical teams, higher costs to the healthcare provider, and potentially a worse outcome for the patient.
The algorithms developed by axial3D will be used to streamline the process of turning medical images into 3D-printed models to guide surgical planning. With the advent of fast and easy access to 3D printing, requests for 3D prints are made directly through axial3D’s online portal, axial3Dinsight, where the combination of automated segmentation, expert engineers and rapid 3D printing mean axial3D can return a patient-specific 3D printed model within 48 hours. This meets even the most time-sensitive cases as illustrated in the case below.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has axial3D done for them?
RK: In the trauma unit of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, a patient presented with severe pelvis trauma following a motorcycle accident which resulted in a fracture of the acetabulum. Due to the severity of the fracture, 2D imaging did not convey the full extent of the fracture pattern. axial3D produced a model within 24 hours, and using this, the surgical team identified small bone fragments not visible on the images, resulting in the team deciding the original plan needed to change significantly. This resulted in the surgery duration being reduced by approximately 3 hours and an improved outcome for the patient.
“Without the knowledge obtained from the 3D model we would have planned a single posterior approach and the surgical reduction would not have been possible as a result this saved significant operative time.”
Mr. Andrew Johnston, Consultant Orthopedic and Trauma Surgeon, The Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast