Feb 6, 2017 | By Tess

The Ottawa Hospital is now the home of Canada’s first medical 3D printing program. The new multi-department program, which will seek to improve surgical planning and make 3D printed prosthetic limbs more accessible, was launched in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, located in Canada’s capital city.

Dr. Sheikh (left) and Dr. Rybicki (right)

3D printing technologies, which are becoming more widespread in the medical field, have the potential to vastly improve certain medical applications, such as making patient-specific surgical guides, realistic training models, and even prosthetics and implants. Within Canada, the new Medical 3D Printing Program at the Ottawa Hospital will allow for doctors to improve patient care and provide them with a wider range of treatments.

Dr. Frank Rybicki, Chief of Medical Imaging at the Ottawa Hospital and Chair of Radiology at the University of Ottawa, said of the new program: “3D modelling will allow surgeons to create detailed anatomical plans in advance of the patient arriving in the operating room. This is about personalized medicine that reduces the need for invasive surgeries, lengthy anesthetics and ultimately improves outcomes at a reduced cost.”

Working with the University of Ottawa to establish the 3D printing program, the Ottawa Hospital is aiming to be at the forefront of new medical technologies and advancements, specifically within the field of medical imaging. By becoming the first hospital in Canada to offer additive manufacturing technologies in such a capacity, the Ottawa Hospital is undoubtedly one step closer to becoming “one of North America’s top hospitals.”

Stratasys Objet 500 Connex 3 3D printer

“This is an important and exciting step as we move forward with our vision of providing 21st-century care for the people of eastern Ontario,” commented Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital. “Our Medical 3D Printing Program opens the door to many exciting and innovative research opportunities, but most importantly it will improve the care we provide for our patients.”

As part of the new medical 3D printing program, the Ottawa Hospital is now equipped with a $400,000 Stratasys Connex 3 3D printer, which uses photopolymers and UV light to build up objects layer by layer. According to Dr. Adnan Sheikh, medical director of the 3D printing program, the hospital is also planning to add more 3D printers to the facility. “This,” he says, “is what the future of medicine looks like.”

One patient has already benefitted from the hospital's new 3D printing program. 33-year-old Dave Chasse, who lost four of his fingers after a motorcycle accident in 2015, was recently fitted with a custom-made 3D printed prosthetic hand, courtesy of the medical 3D printing lab. Made from flexible materials, the wrist-activated prosthetic allows Chasse to control his prosthetic fingers and to pick up things more easily.

Perhaps the best thing about prosthetics made using 3D printers is their cost. Chasse for instance, who paid $3,200 for his old prosthetic hand, only had to pay $200 for his new 3D printed hand, meaning that the technology has the potential to make prosthetic limbs much more accessible than they ever were.

Dave Chasse and his 3D printed prosthetic hand; image from Montreal Gazette video

While Chasse was the first person to be treated using the Ottawa Hospital’s new 3D printing program, there is no doubt that many patients will soon reap the benefits of having the hospital’s new facility, whether for 3D printed prosthetics, surgical-prep guides, or even just 3D printed models that can help clarify and explain treatments that patients will undergo.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Valerie Bradford wrote at 2/7/2017 3:55:58 PM:

This is so exciting, and has the potential to improve the lives of so many patients, in such a timely, cost-effective way.

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