Interview: Dr. Naheed Mohamed

“The applications of 3D printing in healthcare are endless from healthcare education to custom tissue replacements. I once read an article where the author commented saying ‘there is no limitation to application of 3D printing unless there is limited mindset.’ This comment hit it spot on. We are only limited by our vision. I see a future of personalized medicine, with custom tailored patient specific healthcare solutions. Whether it may be printed organs or tissue replacements, surgical guides, and custom prosthetics.”

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Dr Mohamed is a board certified Periodontist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology with a keen interest in using digital technology to improve surgical efficiency . His clinical interests include periodontal microsurgery, computer guided surgery using live dynamic navigation systems, and minimally invasive approaches to improve on predictability and surgical recovery. He has a special interest in alveolar bone reconstruction and has developed protocols using cone beam computer tomography data along with computer aided design and 3D printing to simplify the procedures and improve on results. His current work includes simplifying an efficient in house protocol for using 3D printing for oral surgery and dental implantology.
Dr Mohamed received his dental training from Boston University and then went on to complete his residency in Periodontics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Now in private practice in Toronto, Dr Mohamed is constantly striving to improve his field with advancements in modern technology. Dr. Mohamed will be speaking at the dental panel during #3DHEALS2017.

Q: What is your vision on the intersection of 3D Printing and healthcare?

A: The applications of 3D printing in healthcare are endless from healthcare education to custom tissue replacements. I once read an article where the author commented saying “ there is no limitation to application of 3D printing unless there is limited mindset.” This comment hit it spot on. We are only limited by our vision. I see a future of personalized medicine, with custom tailored patient specific healthcare solutions. Whether it may be printed organs or tissue replacements, surgical guides, and custom prosthetics.

Q: What do you specialize in? What is your passion?

A: I am a periodontist which is a dental specialist who focuses on the health of the supporting structures of teeth which include bone, gingiva tissue, and periodontal ligaments. My passion is to find new ways reconstruct damaged or diseased oral tissues in a minimally invasive way using the best technology has to offer.

Q: What inspired you to do what you do?

A: As a dental student learning to extract teeth and treat cavities I always felt the calling to save hopeless teeth. I also had a particular passion for surgery. The fusion of these two inclinations is what led me to pursue periodontics. A lot of periodontics has to do with tissue regeneration. Using technology, I have found more controlled minimally invasive ways to get more predictable regeneration. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the results a successful tissue regeneration.

Q: What is the biggest potential impact you see 3D printing having on the healthcare industry?

A: The biggest potential impact 3D printing can have on the healthcare industry is with tissue bioprinting. Bioprinting will bring advances in drug testing, tissue transplants, and trauma surgery. These advancements will allow a more rapid evolution in medicine and healthcare delivery.

Q: What challenges do you see arising in implementing 3D printing in healthcare sector in the next 5 years?

A: The greatest challenges will be in regulation. The technology will be advancing at such a rapid rate that either healthcare regulation will hold it back or will be trying to catch up. A lot more research also needs to be put into the safety and long-term side effects of using 3D printed applications and materials in medicine.

Q: What is the best business lesson you have learned?

A: The best business lesson I have learned is to always keep learning and be generous with your knowledge. As a specialist I work on a doctor referral basis. I have found that in these days of rapidly advancing technology, medicine is rapidly progressing and if you are not up to date then you can easily fall behind. Being generous and helping other colleagues has built my referral source surprisingly, since I initially thought it may reduce it over time.

Q: What is the biggest business risk you have taken?

A: The biggest business risk I have taken is investing in technology. In healthcare technology is very expensive. Investing in expensive machines and increasing my overhead is a risky move for a young practitioner however, it is my belief that in the end it will all pay off.

Q: What crucial skill should people aiming to work in this industry acquire?

A: As a provider in the healthcare industry involved in 3D printing, I think the most crucial skill people should aim for is understanding the software and digital processing of diagnostic data into workable 3D printable files. Understanding how to do things like segmentation and creating/modifying STL files will provide a better understanding to communicate with biomedical engineers and software programmers to simplify the protocols and processing.

Q: How will accessibility of the technology affect the cost of procedures?

A: Currently there is quite an expense to this technology, thus this cost likely will be translated to the cost of the procedures. However as technology advances and the cost comes down the resulting reduced surgical time and increased efficiency will eventually bring the procedure costs down.

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