Dr. Pedro Martínez Seijas is a board certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon in Vigo, Spain. He also holds Master degree in Biomedical Engineering and medical direction and clinical management. Since 2003, Pedro has been working in Clinical Innovation applied to 3D printing and surgical simulation in oncological-maxillofacial reconstructive surgery and maxillofacial-skull deformities.
“The Pedro I met during our 3DHEALS Vigo event is more than titles and degrees. To me, Pedro is truly legendary in the field of healthcare 3D printing. He has been using 3D printing in his practice for 15+ years, changing many’s lives in Spain. Pedro in person is down to earth, friendly, and kind. This enabled him to be an extremely effective leader in the Spanish 3D printing community and an excellent co-organizer of the event.” – Jenny Chen, M.D.
Jenny: What inspired you to use 3D printing for your work?
Pedro: There are patient’s problems that we haven’t the best solution, only standard solutions. Under this condition, I started my search for personalized solutions in 2001. When Dr. Arruti and I discovered that 3D CT scan reconstruction could give us a new complementary vision of the patient’s condition and we asked ourselves: “Can we use 3D CT scan data in a physical form for surgery simulation? Then we began searching for engineers for this purpose and it was a difficult enterprise because in Spain there isn´t a specialization for healthcare.
In 2001, the bio-models price was very high, but we started working with it anyway. For our patients, that was science fiction. In our surgeries, it became a routine since 2007.
As time goes, the price of these bio-models became lower and it started to democratize and wide-spread it uses. Now we are in a new era for 3D printing in healthcare.
Jenny: What is the biggest motivation for your work?
Pedro: The patients and limits for their treatment was my principal motivation. I worked hard to improve this technology so that we could give our patients effective treatments that standard techniques could not. These are working for patients based on the patients’ testimonies. My parents and education guided my life and my work. I try to improve the “magic” in my clinical practice, investigation, and teaching. There is no limit to achieving excellence.
Jenny: What is the biggest challenge in your work?
Pedro: The biggest challenge in my work is when the surgeries went wrong and there are complications. It is my obsession to find solutions and reduce/avoid complications. Clinical safety for patients is the biggest priority for me. PPPM or prediction, prevention, and personalization medicine is my mantra. 3D printing is a great tool and they are improving surgeon’s experience, resources, knowledge, and skills. 3D printing can provide surgical quality control, variability control, and can improve clinical safety.
Jenny: How do you approach working with people with different backgrounds?
Pedro: Based on my clinical knowledge and past clinical experiences, I believe in multidisciplinary work and I think that networking is one of the best ways to improve solutions for patients.
Jenny: How do you plan to conquer this challenge of having to work with people with different backgrounds?
Pedro: I play several different roles: oral and maxillofacial surgeon, biomedical engineer, and also a medical director. Because of this, I can speak to engineers in engineering language, speak to doctors in medical language, and speak to medical directors in administrator’s language.
Jenny: What is your vision on the potential impact of your current work to the future of medicine?
Pedro: I think that 3D printing will be used routinely around the world very soon. My impact is very small: “like an insect impact with a car”. I try to improve the technological advances based on clinical process management, efficiency, safety, and quality control in oral and maxillofacial surgery. I think that regenerative medicine, bioprinting, big data orientated for improving personalized medicine will be with us soon. By the way, networking and multidisciplinary work using clinical process management can help with the challenges in ordering and controlling clinical variability.
Jenny: What is the biggest change/improvement since last year this time?
Pedro: Democracy of 3D printing, and having medical directors, health system, medical doctors, surgeons, engineers, bioengineers working together.
Jenny: What are you passionate about?
Pedro: My passion is the medicine, engineering, bioengineering, clinical process management: global medicine. “Learning every day”.
Jenny: What is the biggest risk you took in your career?
Pedro: One of these (“risk”) is coming next year because I will change from Vasc Health Public Service to Galician Health Public Service and it will be a new era in my career.
Jenny: What do you enjoy in your spare time?
Pedro: I spend my time with my wife and with our friends. My wife suffered through my science inquietude, my Ph.D. study, and the time that I spent on finding patients’ solutions. She is one of my greatest support. I also enjoy watching films ever since I was younger, because they are fascinating to me and make me relaxed. My favorites include Sci-Fi, cartoon, comedy (Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Oliver and Hardy, Harold Lloyd). I also enjoy listening to music and seeing Real Madrid or Spanish football team playing football.
Jenny: What else do you want to share with us? Good stories? =)
Pedro: When people in the surgical field say, “It has always been done this way”. My response is this, “If we only thought about how to drag the bags around, then nobody would have invented the wheel”. Then, this will make people stop to think about it a little.
I remember one case in which we must do a mandibular autotransplant free flap, the idea was a fibular free flap, but the patient had chronic lymphedema in his legs. We could not find any case like this in the literature. Then, I spoke with several trauma colleagues and learned that other colleagues had experiences in treating upper arm fractures in patients after mastectomy and axillary lymph nodes dissection. They said that complication rate in their hands using osteosynthesis plates were low, and we extrapolated the information and made mandibular reconstruction with fibular free flap autotransplant. The result of that case was successful.
I am happy when I see the patients happy with successful results, but when the results are not good I try to stay with these results. “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan”.
Pedro would like to remember and acknowledge his Masters: R. Palomero MD. DDS., J.M. RguezCortel MD. DDS., J.A. Arruti MD. DDS., F. Gorostiaga MD.