Interview: Dr. Sanjay P Prabhu

“As with personal relationships and in all other areas of life, in business, make sure you always put people first, and you will never lose.”


Dr. Sanjay P. Prabhu, MBBS, DCH, FRCR is a Staff Pediatric Neuroradiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Assistant Professor of Radiology at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. He serves as the Director of Advanced Image Analysis Lab and Co-Director of SIMPeds3D Print Service at Boston Children’s Hospital. He serves as a committee member on the education committee of the Society of Pediatric Radiology and as the webmaster/social media education coordinator of the World Federation of Pediatric Imaging. He serves as a reviewer for leading journals including the AJNR, NEJM, Pediatric Radiology, BJR, EJR and Radiographics. Dr. Prabhu has received three innovation acceleration awards from the Boston Children’s Hospital and was elected the Mentor of the Year Award from the radiology fellows at the Boston Children’s Hospital in 2010. He has published over 95 papers in peer-reviewed journals and 15 chapters in leading pediatrics and radiology textbooks. He is frequently as an invited guest speaker at academic institutions around the world and at national/international meetings including the RSNA, SPR and ASNR. Dr. Prabhu’s current research interests include high resolution imaging in pediatric patients with epilepsy, brain imaging following sudden death in childhood, value of 3D printing in surgical simulation and developing clinical decision support tools using machine learning. Dr. Prabhu will be a speaker at 3DHEALS2017

Reconstruction surgery helped by 3D printing at Children Hospital Boston


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

A: I believe 3D printing is the perfect add on to healthcare with a “Value-add” in areas of imaging, surgical planning, trainee and patient education. In addition, use of 3D printing to print custom “bespoke”devices in specialized areas like pediatrics is invaluable. We will see increasing value for 3D printing in creating bespoke drug delivery mechanisms, prosthetics, “just in time” fabrication in the emergency setting and biomaterials for organ repair and replacement in the next few years.

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

A: I am a radiologist with a special interest and training in pediatric neuroradiology and cardiac imaging. Foremost, I am a pediatric imager at heart, so my main focus is use of 3D printing in management of diseases affecting the young child.

Q: What inspired you to do what you do? 

A: An yearning to combine my love for the exciting developments in the arena of technology over the last decade with my insatiable hunger to find new ways to make imaging more accessible and useful to the surgeon. I see myself as the “Google Maps” to the surgeon driving to his destination of a child with an improved outcome from a surgical procedure.

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

A: The exponential increase in use of 3D printing that is already occurring proves that this will considered as a routinely performed procedure before complex surgeries or procedures that involve more than one clinician.

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

A: Lack of reimbursement solutions for 3D printing and the relatively high cost of entry is the biggest barrier. But like every other technology, prices will fall and as more evidence based literature is published showing the value of 3D printing will help turn the momentum in favor of the physicians printing 3D printed models.

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

A: As with personal relationships and in all other areas of life, in business, make sure you always put people first, and you will never lose.

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

A: Leaving the comfort of a cosy private practice job after my first fellowship and deciding to move and uproot the family to come to the United States in 2007. Deciding to take up a consultant position in the 3D print lab in 2014 without knowing where this technology would lead us (or me!) eventually comes a close second.