Interview with Dr. Bruno Gobbato: 3D Printing Orthopedics

Dr. Bruno Gobbato is an orthopedic surgeon and specialist in the anatomy of the shoulders and elbows. He has been a part of 3D printing in medicine and orthopedic models since 2013. Works with mixed reality and Artificial Intelligence. Bruno will be speaking at our upcoming event focusing on orthopedics for 3D printing.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing?

Bruno: In 2013, after seeing a video on YouTube of a 3D printer, I thought orthopedics would be one of the ideal branches of medicine to develop this technology. My head exploded when I´ve to see surgical planning for a Monteggia deformity (it’s a forearm fracture) using specific printed guides. I thought: I can do this.

The next day, I was in the engineering course at the local university to see their 3D printer. It was a large and expensive machine but googled a lot and many engineering students from other cities were setting their own printers. I contacted one of the students and bought his newly wood-assembled 3D printer. A Prusa-like printer. Some months later I was building my own !!

Jenny: What inspired you to start your journey/company/career/research in 3D printing (bio-fabrication/bio-printing)?

Bruno: My inspiration was with 3D Printing I could really change a paradigm in medical education and planning. My thinking process about a deformity or fracture was totally different after playing around with the models. It´s hard to explain how the brain learns, we are used to seeing 2D images (X-ray, Ct, MRI) and transform in our minds into a 3D model of the patient. But this transformation is not always correct! I know in my mind, my brain changed the way “he” understand, plans and executes surgeries today!

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing (bio-printing/bio-fabrication)? This can be a mentor, a patient, a celebrity, anyone basically. You can name more than one as well.

Bruno: I think there is no single name because the 3D printing community is a “community”! Almost all projects are open-source. For me, the inspiration, knowing I´m being redundant, is the 3D printing community!

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work? 

Bruno: For all “nerds” I think it is a personal challenge. Every knowledge I have comes with the will of “mastering” some topic. This is true for Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, 3D Printing, and AI. 

Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions? 

Bruno: In my work, the biggest challenge is the regulation process. Unfortunately, in healthcare things are expensive, and the regulation process is as well. As I am an early adopter, sometimes I feel bored having to wait for the innovation to be cleared to work with. Of course, this is necessary, no question, but we see that only the big ones (companies) have the power to implement in healthcare! 

Jenny: What do you think is (are) the biggest challenge(s) in 3D Printing/bio-printing? What do you think the potential solution(s) is (are)?

Bruno: For sure bioprinting is the future for orthopedics.  

Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be? 

Bruno: To change the current exchange rate US DOLLAR (USD) to BRAZIL REAL (BRL) and lower taxes. Today we pay almost 9x for any gadget in Brazil (exchange and tax). Imagine what I could do with a fair price!

Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advice you heard should they ignore? 

Bruno: Create and do your things based on your curiosity and personal challenge to achieve. Do something different. Learn how to code. Everything else will come naturally.

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