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CEOCFO Magazine, PO Box 340
Palm Harbor, FL 34682-
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
Bud Wayne, Marketing
& Production Manager
Christy Rivers -
Chief Operating Officer
Jeanette Laine, COO – SurgiSTUD
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – January 10, 2022
CEOCFO: Ms. Laine, what is SurgiSTUD™?
Ms. Laine: SurgiSTUD offers an alternative to cadavers for surgical training. We manufacture customizable 3D printed surgical training and utility device models with high biomechanically fidelity that offers real life haptic feel AND significant cost savings over cadaveric options.
CEOCFO: How are these as good as, or perhaps, better than a cadaver?
Ms. Laine: Our models are completely customizable. We use patient specific CT scans to replicate anatomy/pathology or existing deformities. Our models are very inexpensive when compared to a cadaver as there are no associated lab expenses, transportation charges, any of the additional fees (such as disposable, delivery, environmental, infectious disease tests, etc.). Our models also have an extended shelf life over cadaveric options.
We are available worldwide and have patents globally. Our models eliminate some cultural concerns that cadavers have in some countries. Our models are perfect for deliberate, simulated training. Most of our models can be used multiple times or for multiple procedures. Surgeons have the opportunity to simulate a complex case and practice before performing on the actual patient. All of our bones have been biomechanically tested, so they have the same fidelity and haptic feel of real bones.
CEOCFO: What is the feeling about this in the medical industry in general and in the orthopedic arena specfically?
Ms. Laine: We are getting a lot of really fantastic feedback. The most common response that we get is, “Finally – a solution to a void in the industry!” There is currently a shortage in cadaver availability, sources are stating that they are at about 40% capacity. It is super exciting time for us to be able to offer an alternative platform.
CEOCFO: Was that the initial idea for the company?
Ms. Laine: The neurosurgeon inventor, Dr. Michael Bohl, had a need for additional hands-
CEOCFO: When it comes to 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, was there a particular advance that made it possible to customize and do what you are doing today? Was there a turning point?
Ms. Laine: Obviously, 3D technology created the opportunity. The turning point was after we obtained the biomechanical data, we were able to translate patient specific bone and bone mineral density into reproduceable and reliable 3D models.
CEOCFO: Would a doctor contemplating a surgical procedure where there was some special circumstances, request a specific model from you or would that be someone who is providing training in a school?
Ms. Laine: The initial concept was to develop the models specifically for surgeons, but we continue to find more markets that could benefit from using our models. Right now, I think the biggest market that we impact is the medical device companies. Medical device companies turn to SurgiSTUD when looking for a platform for effectively demonstrating the quality of their medical devices, when seeking to reduce costs of organizing training courses, when looking for alternatives to cadavers for patient specific or custom pathologies and anatomies, or for increasing sales through surgeon demonstration, education, and outreach, also and when they are frustrated by the lack of reliable benchtop testing for product development to develop and test navigation systems and implant systems.
CEOCFO: When someone is practicing and they are cutting into something, how does it get back together? You said the models are re-
Ms. Laine: I have to be careful when I say that, because not all of the models are re-
CEOCFO: How do you decide what to work on next? What are the criteria for where you go?
Ms. Laine: We recently launched our orthopedics division with knee and hip models, and the shoulder will be released in early 2022. We have also been getting a lot of requests for foot and ankle models. SurgiSTUD prides itself on really listening to our customers’ needs. Our models are continuously being improved upon due to the feedback of our customers.
CEOCFO: Do you need to maintain an inventory? Are you able to produce as many as you might need at any given time?
Ms. Laine: That is a great question. We normally do not keep inventory on hand as most of the orders are customized.
CEOCFO: What is your SkullSTUD?
Ms. Laine: The SkullSTUD is a new product application that uses our patented boney anatomy and soft tissue for cranial fixation and stabilization for cervical deformity correction and instrumentation. We are looking further to apply our technology into cranial facial as well as mandibular facial reconstruction, including trauma.
CEOCFO: What have you patented? What part of this process have you figured out that others have not?
Ms. Laine: The ability to customize, being able to create the model from a CT scan and the capability to customize bone density, size, flexibility, deformities, trauma, etc.
CEOCFO: What about the materials that you use? Are they readily available? Are there, supply chain issues these days?
Ms. Laine: Oh yes, we have supply chain issues just like everyone else! However, we have a really good relationship with our vendors, and because we are medical industry, they make an effort to prioritize our orders above others, and they are very consistent with us. We have been able to anticipate our growth and stay on top of stock.
CEOCFO: What is your geographic reach today? Where do you see that going?
Ms. Laine: Oh goodness, we are worldwide! We have delivered to more than 20 counties. I would say that about 50% of our business is domestic, United States, and the other 50% is international.
CEOCFO: That is a pretty good mix.
Ms. Laine: Yes! We are really excited about that.
CEOCFO: How is business?
Ms. Laine: Good! We just hit one million dollars in sales last week!
Ms. Laine: Yes! We are fairly new. The business started in 2019 and every year, almost every quarter, we see a doubling of sales and market reach.
CEOCFO: What about personnel? So many companies are having problems getting qualified or committed people to work with them. Is it easier for you as what you provide is novel and exciting?
Ms. Laine: It really is! We have a very, very loyal staff. We went from 1 employee in 2019 to 4 in 2020, and we now have 15. We do cross train and like to promote from within. We pride ourselves on providing a place for people to grow personally, financially, and professionally. We do really appreciate our employees.
I think that the staff realizes that we are making a difference in the medical training industry. We are revolutionizing the way things are done. I am not sure how long the cadaver shortage is going to continue, but the feedback we get from most of our customers is that they do not want to go back to the cadavers. Hopefully, this is the way of the future.
In addition, our warehouse is in Tempe Arizona area, right near the ASU facilities. We have 5 engineers on staff that we have recruited from ASU. They started working with us part time while they were studying, and they have all come on full time.
CEOCFO: Do you do much outreach for business or are people coming to you at this point?
Ms. Laine: Believe it or not, we have not needed to have a salesperson up until this point. It has all been word of mouth and surgeon referrals. We have added additional sales and marketing efforts this year to help launch the orthopedic division. Our goal this year is to create more awareness about our product and how our models can provide solutions to existing challenges.
CEOCFO: Why is SurgiSTUD an important company?
Ms. Laine: Revolutionizing the way surgical training is performed. Providing an alternative to cadavers.
Saving time and money for medical device companies, which results in bringing new product to market less expensive and faster – ultimately benefiting the end user: surgeons and patients.
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“The foundation of our company is to revolutionize surgical training.”