The National Metal and Materials Technology Centre (MTEC) in collaboration with Thammasat University Hospital (TU Hospital) launchs a medical programme offering cranio-maxillofacial reconstructive surgery to 84 poor patients free of charge. The charitable operation aims to celebrate the 25th anniversary of MTEC and 24th anniversary of TU Hospital.
Assoc. Prof. Werasak Udomkichdecha, Executive Director of MTEC, said MTEC started researching and developing medical applications of rapid prototyping technologies, in collaboration with several leading physicians’ institutes in Thailand. They all together successfully invented 3-dimensional medical models to be used as customized surgical instruments and customized implants for diagnosis and planning surgery to replace a damaged/lost organ of a patient. This research is well welcomed by surgeons in Thailand and its applications have become more and more popular, with over 900 patients receiving such implants at over 70 health care institutions nationwide. The implants made by MTEC costs between 10,000 and 50,000 baht each, which is much cheaper than those overseas imported.
The surgical procedure, however, is considered experimental and not covered by insurance many needy patients can not reach and benefit from this innovative implant. Under the cooperative program, the quality of life of the poor and underprivileged patients will be improved. MTEC and Faculty of Medicine of Thammasat University and TU Hospital will offer cranio-maxillofacial reconstructive surgery to 84 poor patients free of charge covering a period of one year.
Dr. Kriskrai Sitthiseripratip, researcher at MTEC, indicated that the strong point of the new cooperative medical procedure would enable patient to have customized artificial skull pieces that designed and built ahead of time. Thus, each patient will receive much more effective and safer treatment. The initiative implant procedure also helps decreasing the length of the operation and the anesthesia process, reducing the chance of infection and minimizing scarring. This implant is custom-fitted for each patient’s skull, and it helps a patient to recover faster, thus reducing the costs of hospital stays.
The candidates for this programme must be a Thai nationality, having skull damage and unable to afford the medical procedure. They can be residents of any place in Thailand, but they have to be able to travel to TU Hospital to obtain the medical treatment. The candidates may be patients of other hospitals in Thailand whom being referred to TU Hospital. The screening process will be done by representatives from MTEC, surgeons, and the hospital’s social work unit. Patients accepted to this programme will receive free of charge medical service, as MTEC will sponsor the implant costs while TU Hospital will cover the costs of CT scans, operating theatre, surgery cost, medication and medical supplies as well as recovery room expense.
Patients interested in the programme can register online until 5 December 2011 at www.medical-rp.org or www.mtec.or.th. For details, please contact Khun Yupaporn Kaewprom at the Medical Rapid Prototyping Project, Biomedical Engineering Research Unit, MTEC at 0 2564 6500 ext. 4021 and 4026, or contact the Outpatient Surgery Department, TU Hospital at 0 2926 9137-8.