Children who need braces and artificial limbs are the beneficiaries of a new computer-aided design and manufacturing system at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California. The high-tech system consists of a camera, scanner, computer-modification software and a 3-Axis Carver, a machine that cuts prosthetic and orthotic molds from pre-sized cylindrical polyurethane foam. Installed in the hospital’s orthotics and prosthetics lab earlier this year, the advanced technology has made the process for making prostheses, braces and burn masks faster, more efficient, less invasive and more effective.
“We no longer need to rely on plaster or fiberglass to make a prosthetic limb or brace for a patient,” says Dan Munoz, manager of the Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. “Now, thanks to scanning technology, we use a hand-held camera and mouse to begin the molding process.”
Under the old system, prostheses and orthoses were molded by hand. To begin the process, a practitioner would make a plaster or fiberglass cast of the patient’s limb or face. Now, patients no longer always need casts made. Instead, Muñoz or a colleague scans the patient’s body part with the camera, which instantaneously transmits a three-dimensional image to an adjacent computer screen. Then they modify the image on a computer, which can take as little as 10 minutes.The image is sent to the in-house Carver, which cuts a mold in minutes.
The Canadian firm Vorum installed the cutting-edge technology that was made possible by a $116,000 donation made to the Northern California Shriners Hospital by The Gately Foundation, which supports medical science, education and enrichment of the lives of children in Northern California.
The digitized system promotes collaboration among Shriners Hospitals, making it possible for the Sacramento hospital to fabricate devices for Shriners hospitals in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. It is allowing satellite centers to open, like a recent one at a Shriners hospital in Spokane, which has never had an in-house orthotics and prosthetics lab. Now staff can scan patients and digitally send the images to a Shriners Hospital lab with a Carver for fabrication.
The digitized system also allows POPS to keep an electronic record of every device they make, including about 3,000 devices a year. The comparative data provides information that may promote new research studies and improve patient care.
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California is one of five Shriners Hospitals nationwide with a Carver. Having a handful of fabrication centers, rather than many hospitals operating independently and making their own devices is a new business model Shriners recently adopted, says Muñoz, manager of Pediatric Orthotic and Prosthetic Services (POPS) at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento.
The cost-saving model allows Shriners to serve more patients, give patients a more consistent experience, and reduce the number of days out-of-town families will have to spend in Sacramento.
Shriners Hospitals for Children is devoted to transforming the lives of children through excellence in treatment, teaching and research. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California provides care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip, scars from any cause and other complex surgical needs. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. Care is provided regardless of the family’s ability to pay. For further information call (916) 453-2000 or go online to www.shrinerschildrens.org.
Media Contact: Catherine Curran | Public Relations (916) 453-2218 | firstname.lastname@example.org