In a dvm360® interview, Sean Bellefeuille, CEO and co-founder of Med Dimensions, described the significant advantages of the company’s 3D models for the veterinary industry.
In this dvm360® interview, second-year student at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Sean Bellefeuille, CEO and co-founder of Med Dimensions, detailed the 3D surgical and educational models the company develops that are designed to benefit veterinary professionals and patients while advancing veterinary medicine.
View the video below for the entire discussion. The following is a partial transcript.
Sean Bellefeuille: [The products] benefit the surgeon’s confidence, their preparedness, as well as the patient that’s getting the surgery done on them. On the educational side, [they] really benefit new [graduate veterinary] students as well as residents that are training. There’s a big problem in veterinary medicine today where new [graduates] lack a lot of confidence and sometimes basic abilities. So our models allow them to practice, get some confidence, get some of that muscle memory so that the first time they’re doing a procedure it’s not on a dog or a cat.
Med Dimensions, LLC., a disruptive medical company focused on the creation of innovative, anatomic solutions, and Dr. Johnny Uday, a leading veterinarian in 3D printing custom surgical tools, today announce a partnership to bring to market custom 3D printed surgical guides and implants.
Dr. Uday has years of experience in designing custom implants for both veterinary and human applications worldwide. “Med Dimensions is a young, courageous, innovative company with a great future; which inspires me to convey all my creativity and experience. We have great things on the horizon together.”
“We are incredibly excited to be working with Dr. Uday. Dr. Uday has a unique perspective that combines veterinary medicine, engineering and artistic design,” says Sean Bellefuille, CEO of Med Dimensions. “This perspective allows him to tackle problems with a level of creativity and expertise that fosters innovation, one of Med Dimension’s main goals.”
Med Dimensions focuses on taking two-dimensional problems and turning them into three-dimensional solutions, for educational and surgical purposes. This partnership only will strengthen the Med Dimensions portfolio, and allows Dr. Uday’s designs to reach a greater audience, especially in the United States and Canada.
To learn more about how Med Dimensions is creating Innovative, Anatomic Solutions please visit www.med-dimensions.com.
The path to veterinarian doesn’t usually start with engineering, but Cornell student, Sean Bellefeuille, is not your typical vet student. His inspiration for becoming a vet student actually came from a club he joined early on in University, helping to create 3D models for children’s prosthetics.
This club sparked an interest in the possibilities of medical technology and was the inspiration for his new business. Today, Sean balances his busy life as a vet student with his new business, creating models and other creative technologies to assist vets.
Although he is in vet school now, it wasn’t an easy decision for Sean. Before he enrolled in vet school he had discovered a passion for 3D printing, but had no idea what he wanted to do with it. There are so many paths 3D models can take.
Today, he is confident in his decision, and excited about the future his innovative creations can give vets, the pets they care for, and their owners alike.
Despite how hard it was to make his decision on veterinary school, he does have another idea up his sleeve if it ends up not panning out. If he had to choose a different career, Sean would love to put his engineering skills to work designing new lego sets.
His passion for creating new things and figuring out how to put things together could easily be put to work creating new and exciting sets for children instead. Fortunately for the pets however, he’s happy in his career choice so far.
To relax after a difficult day of veterinary school, Sean loves nothing more than a good game of hockey. Sean is French Canadian, which means he has played hockey most of his life. When he’s out on the ice with his team, he thinks of nothing else besides the game for that period of time.
The freedom to focus on nothing else can help clear his head and make going back to school the next day easier.
Like most in the veterinary industry, Sean has his concerns about the field and the direction it is heading. His concerns include the price of care. It costs money to buy new technology, train staff in new techniques, and pay them the wages they deserve. It’s very similar to the human medicine field.
Unfortunately, very few pet parents have insurance to pay for this in the same way humans do. Sean believes that finding low-cost solutions to more expensive procedures would help save more pets and bring financial relief to pet owners.
Although it is sometimes hard to see from the customer side of things, vets face some rather unusual challenges. Pets can come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and species. A surgery for a 5-pound chihuahua won’t be the same as it will be for a 50 pound lab.
This is one of the reasons Sean is so passionate about his start-up, Med Dimensions. Veterinarians are creative beings all on their own, and often have ideas for tools or low-cost solutions for pet treatments. Sean’s mission in life is to provide these tools to veterinarians so they can save more lives.
One of the largest applications of 3D modeling and design in medicine is pre-surgical planning.
In early December 2021, Dr. Laurence Mermelstein at Long Island Spine Specialists in New York contacted Med Dimensions about a complex spine case.
A new patient presented with severe pain and limited mobility in his low back. He previously had been through two spine procedures and a hip procedure that had not solved his issues. In the second back surgery, the doctors removed old hardware and attempted a spinal fusion, but it failed over time, as the fused levels sheared and shifted the vertebral body both anteriorly and laterally, causing spinal rotation. Somehow, this patient was still substantially mobile.
Somehow, this patient was still walking into his office!
X-Rays showed the patient’s deformities in two dimensional images- but with multiple deformities collocated, it was impossible to see the full extent of the deformation.
Dr. Mermelstein approached Med Dimensions to turn his two dimensional challenge into a three dimensional solution.
“I was able to plan reduction maneuvers for this patient, as the vertebral body had been shifted and there was an element of rotation. This twisted anatomy was challenging, and the model being accurate helped me plan how to piece it together.”
Dr. Laurence Mermelstein, Long Island Spine Specialists
We were able to take this patient’s images and turn them into an accurate model for Dr. Mermelstein that replicated precisely what he would encounter in the operating room. Collaborating with our partner Vent Creativity, Med Dimensions printed a 3D model that looks, feels, and moves like real bone. The surgeon was able to minimize the unknowns he had prior to the surgery.
With this model, he was able to determine that a posterior surgical approach was ideal, and further that a lateral/anterior approach for operation would potentially be harmful to the patient. (Below are post operative x-rays)
Flash forward to today, this patient is up, moving, and doing well! Pre-operative models for planning and practice are becoming the new standard for patient care, and Med Dimensions is on the forefront of this technology.
VENT Creativity Corporation., a leading provider of Principal Density Analysis software applications for medical imaging modalities, and Med-Dimensions, LLC., a veterinary medical device company specialising in patient-specific education and surgical solutions, today announced the availability of an integration between the two development environments to streamline the imaging to custom 3D printed cutting guides for canine hip replacement surgeries at an unparalleled speed and cost.
The direct connection between VENT Creativity’s 3D CAD based density analysis AI software, Minerva, and Med Dimension’s biocompatible 3D printed cutting guide technology allows companies or hospitals to quickly optimize product designs through rapid design and simulation cycles with minimal cost to the surgeon customers.
Digital simulation software is growing in healthcare as more surgeons analyze surgical plans and cutting guides for the surgeries they plan. This trend toward patient specific and fast analysis – where digital simulation occurs as part of the surgical process – benefits surgeons and patients by providing patient specific optimal quality, reduced OR time with guides that fit the patient anatomy everytime, and reduced guess work for in surgery decision making.
For the healthcare system where time and costs are decision drivers for products used, moving from manual tools that do not always fit the patients to custom deliveredguides that fit each patient everytime is a value driver. The integration between VENT Creativity and Med Dimensions allows the easy exchange of information so design and simulation run in parallel.
Dr Rory Todhunter on the value added to the medical community from this partnership:
“The goal of elective surgery is to improve quality of life for the patient while reducing the risk of surgical error. Training, practice, and experience reduce the risk of error. However, if freehand implantation of a femoral stem in a total hip replacement procedure is not coaxially aligned, femoral fracture can result. A 3D printed reaming guide to develop coaxially aligned preparation of the femoral canal that can be produced quickly and cost effectively from a CT will reduce surgical error and complications for surgeons of differing experience. The risk of surgical error and operative time should be reduced.”
For more information on the technology offered by the collaboration, please visit:
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From Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine, 08/18/2020
There are many gateways to the veterinary medical field. For Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) graduate Sean Bellefeuille, it was 3D printing.
“As an undergraduate in biomedical engineering at RIT, I became really passionate about 3D printing,” he says.
He joined a club that specialized in the technology, working with organizations that helped get custom, 3D-printed prosthetics to children with amputations. “That’s where I learned the basics of design and printing,” he says. He continued an in-depth exploration of the technology, studying the market needs and gaps, and discovered that veterinary medicine held huge potential for 3D printing.
Currently, only a handful of companies produce anatomical models and prosthetics for animals, and their products are highly expensive, Bellefeuille explains.
The spark that ignited his business came from a Rochester-area emergency veterinary hospital, which reached out to RIT’s biomedical engineering department in hopes of expertise. They had a difficult orthopedic case — a patient with a rare femoral deformity that needed surgical intervention. To prepare for the procedure, the surgeon wanted a 3D printed model of the bone to examine.
“The department funneled it down to me and couple other students who worked with 3D printing,” says Bellefeuille. “Without knowing how, we said ‘sure we’ll do it’.”
Using a CT scan provided by the veterinarians, Bellefeuille and his colleagues printed a 3D model of the femur. The RIT students were invited to watch the surgery, during which the surgeon paused and asked to look at the femur for reference before making a certain cut. “That was a big moment,” says Bellefeuille. “It was proof that our 3D printed anatomical models delivered a real benefit to a veterinarian in a clinical setting. We figured, if this person uses it, there are definitely others that will use it too.”
This was the beginning of “M3Dimensions” (pronounced “med-dimensions”) Bellefeuille’s start-up biomedical printing company. They are currently working on a business and strategy plan with a goal of formally launching in January 2021.
“Our goal is to increase accessibility for 3D printing technology, 3D models and other types of related tech such as custom cutting guides and templates to help with surgical cuts,” says Bellefeuille. “We’ve identified a demand for devices which would actually attach to the bone to assist the orthopedic surgeon in making more accurate cuts.”
This synergy of biomedical engineering and veterinary medicine also inspired Bellefeuille to pursue the veterinary profession. “I always enjoyed the medical and biological aspects of my undergraduate program,” he says. “And then saw how open the veterinary medical field was — that there was an opportunity to bring in my engineering knowledge.” Bellefeuille ended up shadowing and working at the same emergency veterinary hospital and surgeon whom he had printed the femur for, and from thereon, was inspired to pursue veterinary medicine.
With that career in his sights, Cornell was quickly Bellefeuille’s first choice. “Cornell has always had a great reputation,” he says. “And, being based in Rochester, a lot of the veterinarians I worked with for my business had gone to Cornell and spoke of it highly.” Plus, as a New York state resident, Bellefeuille knew that tuition would be markedly more affordable.
Cornell also strongly appealed to Bellefeuille thanks to personal connections he made prior to applying. “I reached out to [Maurice R. and Corinne P. Greenberg Professor of Surgery] Dr. Rory Todhunter letting him know of my interest, and he invited me to come spend a day with his surgery team,” he says. “I got to spend a day shadowing them, watched some surgeries — it was really great to start a relationship with a well-established surgeon at Cornell.”
Bellefeuille also got to know Jorge Colón ’92, D.V.M. ’95, senior lecturer with the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship, who immediately connected him with the Center for Veterinary Business and Entrepreneurship’s resources and introduced him to CVM veterinary entrepreneurs like Drs. Jonathan Cheetham and Rodrigo Bicalho. “It was great to get those connections before starting school,” he says.
Like everyone, Bellefeuille has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterinary business slowed down considerably as elective surgeries were canceled or postponed. Rather than go idle, Bellefeuille and his team decided to volunteer their expertise and work with a local Rochester group to 3D print face shields for local hospitals and veterinary practices — donating as many as 25,000 shields in total. “We didn’t have much to do, so we just wanted to figure out a way to help,” Bellefeuille says.
As Cornell slowly begins its reopening process and welcoming students back to campus for the fall 2020 semester, Bellefeuille is excited to embark on this next step of his career. “I’m so excited to learn anatomy and to get that real hands-on knowledge,” he says. He plans to pursue veterinary medicine as his primary profession, potentially in a specialty service, and have his 3D printing business support the work he would do as a veterinarian. “I definitely want to incorporate 3D printing in whatever I’m doing,” he says.
Sean Bellefeuille, a first-year student in the College of Veterinary Medicine, plans to launch a startup that produces anatomical models of animals with a 3D printer. Photo: John Munson/Cornell University
From Kevin Oklobzija of the Rochester Business journal, 3/24/2020
In normal times, M3Dimensions would be bettering the surgical process for veterinarians and providing veterinary students with 3D models to enhance learning.
But during this global coronavirus pandemic, the Rochester-based medical device company is instead creating lightweight, protective face shields for health care workers.
M3Dimensions, a startup launched by a group of former and current Rochester Institute of Technology students, has been in contact with medical professionals on Long Island to design and produce a practical face shield.
“We’re trying to work with their protocols so there’s an airtight seal,” said Sean Bellefeuille, co-founder and CEO of the firm. “We have to make sure everything fits their needs.”
The goal is to supply health care workers with a tangible extra layer of protection, using the firm’s 3D printing process to create the top band that holds the shield. The shield uses a closed-cell foam cushion and polyethylene terephthalate plastic, which does not absorb moisture or harbor bacteria.
“With everything going on, a lot of people are trying to help,” Bellefeuille said. “But you don’t want something that isn’t safe and gives someone a false sense of security. This would be an extra barrier to block the virus.”
Based on printer inventory, Bellefeuille figures M3Dimensions can produce 40 to 60 shields a day. Other firms with Fused Deposition Modeling 3D printers can also produce the shields, he said. The M3Dimensions website provides more information.
M3Dimensions was founded in the summer of 2019, though the seven-person group has been working together on implementation of the business idea since 2018.
The company works to provide veterinarians a precise 3D model of a knee ailment or bone abnormality before surgery. The anatomical model is made from polylactic acid plastic and is created from an MRI or CT scan. The technology can also be used in the medical field.
By examining the model ahead of time, doctors can determine what exactly must be done in surgery to correct the existing medical issue. That reduces time in the operating room and time under anesthesia for the pet, said Michael Campbell, director of business development for M3Dimensions.
The firm has also provided veterinary schools with a batch of anatomical models so students can see, touch and feel what they would find in surgery.
This week in the Times we’re going to share a story from Med Dimensions co-founder, Sean Belefeuille:
A local surgeon we have been working with reached out and asked for a femur and tibia/fibula 3D model for one of his patients, a medium sized and mixed breed dog. Dr. Hofmann suspected deformities in both the tibia and the femur. The main issue was several bone deformities that could affect patient movement and cause pain, eventually resulting in osteochondral arthritis and a plethora of other orthopedic complications if it were to go untreated. The surgical challenge in this case with having multiple deformities is that it would require the surgeon to do multiple procedures during the same surgery. This increases the surgery time, the risk to the patient and the cost to the family. After reviewing the models we provided him with, the surgeon determined one of the deformations was not as severe as he had thought while reviewing the imaging scan (CT). He decided the second procedure could be cut out, decreasing the surgery time and the cost of hospital stay.
The actual process of repairing the issue was very similar to the first, a sort of deformation that he cut out a wedge to better align the bone. The procedure of a corrective osteotomy was a tremendous success in pre-op management, during surgery, and post-op follow up.
Med Dimensions has the capability to suit any and all surgeons needs through only the highest quality products and services!
Please leave a comment if you have any questions, and reach out to Fred at email@example.com if there is anything you’d like him to cover!
During shoulder arthroscopy, it’s extremely common to find some form of a bone spur on the acromion that is impinging the rotator cuff, typically supraspinatus, that is causing pain on patients. This pathology can appear when using radiology pre-op, and make it easier to find rotator cuff tears when in the sub-acromial space. However, occasionally an x-ray that shows a bone spur can be very misleading.
I was with a surgeon that was operating on a 46 year old male suffering from textbook acromioclavicular joint impingement symptoms, as well as a possible rotator cuff tear. Interestingly enough, the pre-op radiology report saw a slightly odd bone spur on medial side of the acromion, so the surgeon thought that it was going to be a simple distal clavicle excision and SAD. What we found through the microscope was a previous acromial fracture from when the patient was a child that had healed, but had also calcified over, so it was impinging on the shoulder in a major way and the main source of his pain.
This discovery did not necessarily affect the surgery in any way, outside of taking longer than expected, but left the surgeon upset because he had sent the students observing him for the day home. Acromial fractures are uncommon, personally I have seen thousands of shoulder cases and this was the first fracture of its kind I have seen in my career, so the teaching moment was lost. The simple solution that Med Dimensions could have assisted with is a pre-op model of the surrounding osteology of the glenohumeral joint, so this surgeon could have seen this odd x-ray in 3D and been prepared to teach his students in the moment, rather than just having to tell them about the unique case he had just completed.
Please leave a comment if you have any questions, and reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything you’d like me to cover!
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