Dr. Mustafa Yüksel: Afinia 3D-Enabled Thoracic Surgeon

Dr. Yüksel is a thoracic surgeon who practices medicine and teaches at the Marmara University Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey. He is also an inventor with three patents, a professor and specializes in minimally invasive Pectus Excavatum (sunken breast bone) and Carinatum (keel-shaped breast bone) Corrections.

His specialty requires the custom creation of bars and stabilizers to reform the patient’s chest cavity. “Currently, it takes 4 weeks for the bars and stabilizers to be made for my patients, which is much too long.”, remarked Dr. Yüksel. “My dream is to greatly reduce the time it takes to get ready for our procedures by creating things in one day.”

Dr. Yüksel received an Afinia 3D printer last year for his 60th birthday.

Dr. Yüksel and his crew with their Afinia 3D Printer.
Dr. Yüksel and his crew with their Afinia 3D Printer.

“My son spoke to me about it and I was really interested in getting one. I thought that it would be difficult to use and he said not to worry. When I saw the Afinia in operation I was shocked to see that it was really plug-and-play.”

“I work with a mechanical engineer that creates the specifications for the bar and stabilizer devices that we use during procedures. He was very familiar with 3D design software and quickly created files that we could print and send to the company that makes our devices. I understand that there is an FDA-approved nylon under test. We are looking forward to experimenting with this new material. It has the potential to fundamentally transform the way we produce our bars and stabilizers”.

The surgical technique used by Dr. Yüksel (Nuss Repair) is much less invasive than the more traditional Open Surgery. He makes a small incision on each side of the chest. A curved steel bar that has been shaped to fit the patient’s chest is inserted through the openings and placed under the sternum. This bar is guided into position using a small video camera called a thoracoscope. Then, Dr. Yüksel rotates the bar and lifts the sternum. The surgery usually takes 1 to 2 hours and the bar is left in place for at least 2 years.

“As a professor in our school of medicine, I held a one-hour lecture about the Afinia 3D printer. Even though my students have digital minds, they had no idea that we were using this technology at our school, and that got them really excited.”

Dr. Yüksel's 3D-printed prototypes with the steel bar.
Dr. Yüksel’s 3D-printed prototypes with the steel bar.

The Afinia 3D-printed trachea.
The Afinia 3D-printed trachea.

“Another part of my practice involves correcting deformed tracheas. Unlike other areas of the body where grafts can be used, that is not the case with the trachea. I use the Afinia to create models for the segments that need to be replaced.”

“I am looking forward to seeing what we can do in the future for our patients.”