A new computer-aided prosthetics design and manufacturing system has recently been installed at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California.

Installed in the hospital’s orthotics and prosthetics lab earlier this year, the system consists of a camera, scanner, computer-modification software, and a 3-Axis Carver—a machine that cuts prosthetic and orthotic molds from presized cylindrical polyurethane foam.

Since the system’s installation, Shriners Hospital notes in a media release, it has enabled the process of 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 Shriners Hospital for Children—Northern California, in the release.

“Now, thanks to scanning technology, we use a handheld camera and mouse to begin the molding process,” he adds.

Installed by Vorum, a Vancouver-based maker of CAD/CAM systems for custom prosthetics, orthotics, and footwear, the system was made possible by a donation to the Northern California Shriners Hospital by The Gately Foundation, per the release.

Via the new system, Munoz or a colleague scans the patient’s body part with the camera, which instantaneously transmits a 3D image to an adjacent computer screen. Then, they modify the image on a computer. The image is sent to the in-house Carver, which cuts a mold for the prosthetic.

Since the system is digitized, it enables collaboration among other Shriners Hospitals, making it possible for carvers in the Sacramento hospital to fabricate devices for Shriners hospitals in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. It also enables satellite centers to open, where staff can scan patients and send the images to a Shriners Hospital lab with a carver for fabrication, the release explains.

As well, the digitized system allows POPS to keep an electronic record of every device that has been made, which provides information that may promote new research studies and help improve patient care.

Munoz notes in the release that having a handful of fabrication centers, rather than many hospitals operating independently and making their own devices, is a new business model that Shriners recently adopted.

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, per the release.

For more information, visit Shriners Hospitals for Children – Northern California.

[Source(s): Shriners Hospitals for Children—Northern California, Business Wire]