When 3D helps restoring mobility and dignity
The 3D project from MSF foundation aims to evaluate new technologies to give access to specific care such as prosthetics and orthotics for neglected patient populations.
The project was initiated at the MSF Reconstructive Surgery Hospital of Amman in 2017 and includes two sub-projects.
- To design and manufacture customized prosthetics and provide comprehensive care through a multi-disciplinary team (below elbow prosthetics or partial hand).
According to estimations, there are as many as 40 million amputees worldwide with only 5% of them having access to prosthetic and orthotic care. Cost, access to healthcare or availability of the service are the main constraints faced by amputees and the current conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen will increase the needs for orthotics and prosthetics care in the Middle East.
Since March 2017, in Amman, we have launched a project to deliver cheap, adapted, lighter, in-house prosthetics services based on 3D technology for patients from the whole region. MSF Foundation aims at increasing access to prosthetics through the design and production of devices that can be delivered to patients in areas where there’s limited or no access to prosthetic care.
The development of 3D printed prosthesis start with a close collaboration between the patient and MSF Foundation team (composed of biomedical engineer – Safa Herfat - and a physiotherapist – Pierre Moreau) in order to develop solutions adapted to the needs of each patient: we sit down and interview them to determine their condition and the specific activities they would like to restore in their lives. The prosthesis could have a psycho-social impact on the life of the patient while the impact of upper limb loss or growing-up without an artificial limb for children can limit their integration and participation in society.
Once the needs of the patient are clearly identified, the production of the prosthesis is very quick (scanning, design and printing). In a week time, the whole process can be achieved. The speed of the process goes along with its unique cost effectiveness: a 3D prostheses cost 20$ only for materials (if we integrate HR cost it is between 200$ and 300$), rather than thousands USD for normal upper limb prosthesis.
At 2 weeks and 3 months post-delivery, clinical assessments are completed to help us improve the designs and process.
- To evaluate the feasibility of a method assisted by 3D technology for the manufacture of masks for burn patients.
Other application : Burn mask to limit scar hypertrophy, which can be prevented by compression therapy. These scar hypertrophies can limit patient’s integration and participation in society and can have a psycho social impact on their life.
In the case of facial burns, rigid and transparent masks are made by the rehabilitation team to equip patients. These devices are performed by trained clinicians. Conventional realization involves a plaster cast on the patient for several tens of minutes (a long and uncomfortable or even traumatic step for younger patients). The entire creation process can take several tens of hours.
Since June 2018, in Amman, the team evaluates the feasibility of this method with the following main objectives:
- Avoid plastered impression
- Potentially reduce local working time.
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