Changing Young Lives: Lab for 3D Printing Implants Opens at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Share this Article

UntitledIt’s safe to say that most people, unless they have a passion for technology and all that comes with it, still have a fairly topical view of 3D printing. Colorful and sometimes derisive comments still abound, however, trivializing the 3D printer’s use as a desktop manufacturer of red plastic keychains and tiny figurines for which gamers often show an affinity. It doesn’t take much reading these days though to quickly see that 3D printing isn’t going anywhere–and it’s the main reason that a number of individuals are moving forward like they never thought they would, thanks to a wide range of prosthetics, implants and more.

While we love to hear stories about anyone’s quality of life being elevated due to a medical challenge, there’s just something incredibly inspiring about seeing children being helped–especially the ones who have so bravely adjusted to their disabilities and never imagined the day that a 3D printer would come along and change life as they know it. We’ve seen this countless times now, but never without awe–as volunteer organizations like e-NABLE continue to provide new prosthetic designs for kids, to specialists overseas engaging in restoring use to a young boy’s arm thanks to a 3D printed implant.

Untitled

[Photo: Michael Szabath]

Now in Australia, the EPIC 3D Orthopaedic Lab has just been unveiled at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead–EPIC stands for Engineering and Prototyping Implants for Children. The refurbished laboratory is designed to give children a new lease on life through 3D printed implants, aimed specifically at those with lower limb deformities. As is so often the case with 3D printing in the medical sector, its benefits are substantial in that an item like an implant can be completely customized to the individual.

Medical personnel involved in the project see this lab as completely revolutionizing implants, as they tailor them to younger kids–where a one-size-fits-all concept certainly doesn’t ‘fit.’

“A multi-disciplinary team of surgeons, engineers, biomedical scientists and allied health professionals work on the design and development on-site, consulting with manufacturers, both local and global, to refine the designs,” the hospital’s website explains. “The NSW Government funded the refurbishment of the laboratory and has helped bring an innovative medical technology to market through the NSW Medical Devices Fund. A donation from Hyundai Help for Kids funded the  purchase of two 3D printers. Donated funds also enable two engineers to work on the projects for two years.”

3d_epic_lab_opening_07_v2

The opening of EPIC Lab [Photo: The Children’s Hospital at Westmead]

Their first 3D printed implant will actually be launched on the market this year via the lab, which is funded by the Australian government.

“We have six innovative devices in varying stages of development for commercialization, with a view to exporting them globally,” says Children’s orthopaedic surgeon Professor David Little.

One patient so far has benefited greatly from one of the 3D printed implants: Tiana Stalley suffers from a type of neurofibromatosis which is better known as NF1. Diagnosed as a baby, she went through ten surgeries and–needless to say–a lot of challenge physically.

“She was isolated to the school library at recess and lunchtimes,” her mother, Nicole, said. “Making friends was very hard. She wasn’t invited to kids’ houses and couldn’t play sports.”

Untitled

Tiana Stalley with her mother, at the unveiling of the new lab. [Photo: Michael Szabath]

A special surgery made all the difference for Tiana, finally, when doctors inserted a metal implant in her leg, running from the knee to the ankle, and designed to grow as she grows.

“The opening of the EPIC clinic is an exciting development for children with NF1 bone disorder issues,” says her mother.

The implant straightened her leg and changed her life, allowing her to become active, and as her mother says, able to “be a normal teenage girl.”

Current implant technology has a very high failure rate, which only causes more challenge for those who are disabled. It’s hoped that with the opening of this lab many other children will have similar results–and begin to enjoy an improved quality of life similar to Tiana’s. Do you know anyone currently benefiting from a 3D printed implant? Share your thoughts with us in the EPIC 3D Implant Lab forum over at 3DPB.com.

Share this Article


Recent News

RIZE Ships First 7XC Industrial Composite 3D Printers

3D Printing News Briefs, April 18, 2021: Dyndrite, Carbon, KAUST, Art Institute of Chicago



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing Webinar and Virtual Event Roundup: April 17, 2021

From automotive 3D printing stars and SLS 3D printing to combining 3D scans and more, this week we’re covering an array of different topics in our 3D Printing Webinar and...

3D Printing News Briefs, April 15, 2021: Essentium, Titanium GmbH, SUTD, QUT, & SUSTech

We’re starting 3D Printing News Briefs today with a little bit of business news, as Essentium has just now announced the newest appointment to its executive leadership team. Moving on,...

Carbon Expands in Italy and the UK as 3D Printing Demand Grows

3D printing unicorn Carbon signed a deal with Solid Print3D in the UK and Selltek in Italy as it gears up to accelerate its presence in Europe. The successful seven-year-old...

Bassetti Buys 3D Printing MES 3DTrust

It’s a busy M&A year and, now, an especially busy one for additive manufacturing (AM) manufacturing execution system (MES) software, as Bassetti buys 3DTrust. At the same time, Materialise bought...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.