Specifix introduces groundbreaking automated 3D planning software for wrist fracture fixation

Increasing numbers of wrist fractures call for smarter support

Antwerp, December 14, 2023 – Specifix, a new Belgian spin-off of the University of Antwerp, imec, and the MoRe (Monica Research) Institute, is launching its innovative software of the same name for personalized bone fracture fixation. The software assists orthopedic surgeons in selecting the right implant to stabilize wrist fractures. The demand for such surgical procedures is expected to double over the next ten years, adding extra pressure on surgeons and hospitals. 

Automated software for custom fracture fixation provides a solution, and results in lower hospital costs, improved rehabilitation, and the possibility to perform more surgeries. Eventually, the software will also be usable for fractures in other joints.

According to the World Health Organization, the world's population is aging faster than ever. It is expected that the number of people aged 60 and older will double by 2050. Injuries caused by falls are among the most common health problems in older age. Additionally, traffic and sports accidents are also increasing among the active population. Therefore, the demand for surgical interventions is expected to double in the next ten years, surpassing the global capacity of surgeons, putting additional strain on already overloaded medical facilities.

Time and Cost Savings
Specifix's software helps surgeons select the best personalized implants (plates and screws) to stabilize wrist fractures. Choosing a customized implant can potentially avoid unnecessarily long surgeries, reduce exposure to radiation, and deliver better results. In concrete terms, personalized preoperative planning can save up to twenty minutes in the operating room, reducing hospital costs and enabling surgeons to perform more surgeries. Moreover, this also leads to faster and better recovery with fewer complications.

Specifix's software helps surgeons select the best personalised implants to stabilise wrist fractures.
Specifix's software helps surgeons select the best personalised implants to stabilise wrist fractures.

Belgian Invention
Specifix was conceived by Prof. Dr. Matthias Vanhees. As a hand surgeon at the University Hospital Antwerp (UZA) and ORTHOCA (AZ Monica), where there is extensive experience with 3D technology, he recognized the advantages of preoperative planning software. However, he felt constrained by the limitations of available products. " “There was a need of a fully automatic software because every patient and every fracture pattern is different,” explains Prof. Dr. Vanhees. To develop the core technology for this software, Vanhees collaborated with Vision Lab. This research group of imec at the University of Antwerp, led by Prof. Dr. Jan Sijbers, specializes in the analysis of 3D images and artificial intelligence. The innovative technology has already resulted in two patents.

The Specifix team (from left to right): Dr. Soha Mahdi (CTO), Dr. Alejandra Ortega (CEO), and Prof. Dr. Matthias Vanhees (CMO)
The Specifix team (from left to right): Dr. Soha Mahdi (CTO), Dr. Alejandra Ortega (CEO), and Prof. Dr. Matthias Vanhees (CMO)

Fully Automatic Preoperative Planning
Specifix streamlines the entire process from preoperative planning to surgery within minutes. Unlike existing alternatives, Specifix is fast and fully automatic. Therefore, the software does not require a specially trained external operator, saving unnecessary costs and time. Surgeons can access the software online, making it easy to access 24/7 from any location in the world. The software is currently focused on wrist fractures and will be expanded to other joints in the future. 

Through the Specifix platform, the surgeon uploads a CT scan and then receives the 3D visualization of the fracture, and the best plate selection and positioning.

Specifix is a spin-off from the University of Antwerp, imec, and the MoRe Institute and has received considerable recognition and support from the industry. Besides Belgian colleagues, hand surgeons from the United States to Australia have confirmed that they need this tool in their clinical practice. Additionally, Specifix was selected for the prestigious imec.istart accelerator program. Investments have come from the imec.istart Fund and the Bluehealth Innovation Fund, as well as from the University of Antwerp. Specifix has also received support from the City of Antwerp to attract strategic co-funders.

"Specifix is committed to contributing to the improvement of medical care and the well-being of patients and medical staff. It is a major step forward in orthopedic surgery and a promising solution to the growing problem of bone fracture fixation," concludes Prof. Dr. Matthias Vanhees.

For more information, please visit https://www.specifix.online/

Alejandra Ortega Castrillon, Ph.D., CEO l Co-Founder, M +32 472 09 71 41, E: alejandra.ortega@specifix.be





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