Slice Engineering and Egyptian NGO Give Amputees Free 3D Printed Prosthetics

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Florida-based Slice Engineering believes that additive manufacturing can reshape industries and make a lasting impact on humanity, and so works hard to empower innovators and professionals. The company does this by designing and manufacturing components, like nozzles, hotends, and extruders, for industrial polymer extrusion 3D printers, which have often been used to make prosthetics.

“From customized consumer goods to personally tailored medical devices, additive manufacturing allows for producing unique and highly personalized products, creating new market opportunities and enhancing customer experiences,” Slice Engineering wrote in a blog post about why AM matters.

Slice Engineering is currently partnering with Cairo, Egypt-based NGO Hand-in-Hand, which is dedicated to offering free 3D printed prosthetic limbs to low-income and indigent individuals who have had limbs amputated.

According to the recent “Market Trends and Opportunities in Medical Devices; Prosthetics, Dental, Audiology” report by AM Research (AMR), 3D printing has significantly impacted the healthcare field over the past 20 years by lowering development costs, fostering innovation in advanced medical devices, facilitating the production of personalized medical devices, and improving accessibility to prosthetics. As we all saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology has helped streamline the supply chain by bringing device design and production closer to providers and their patients. AMR estimates that the 3D printed medical device market will reach $16.5 billion in revenue by 2034, and that the industry—particularly dental, audiology, and prosthetics—will likely see major growth as a result of 3D printing.

Slice Engineering recently honored Hand-in-Hand for its excellent work in providing these no-cost prostheses to the people who need them most, including children. According to a press release from the company, its technology provides “the most critical component to enable repeatable and fast production of prosthetics to serve patients,” and has helped to increase Hand-in-Hand’s 3D printing productivity by more than five-fold.

The non-profit, headquartered in Giza, was founded by Mohamed Hatab, who was diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 9. His childhood battle with the disease inspired him to help others, and he studied biomedical engineering in order to manufacture prosthetic devices. Hand-in-Hand’s mission is to offer assistance to amputees and help them better integrate into society through custom prosthetic devices, lifelong maintenance, and even psychological rehabilitation.

Egypt is a developing country with a fairly high number of amputees, and many amputations are a result of dangerous regional conflicts, diseases like bone cancer and diabetes, and accidents. Hand-in-Hand estimates that the number of amputations in Egypt is over one million, with 75% due to accidents caused by negligence in safety procedures. It approximates that 20% of the country’s amputees are children between the ages of 5-18, and 50% are workers between the ages of 18-40.

But many of these amputees can’t afford any prostheses, let alone customized ones, because of the high cost. This obviously does little to improve their quality of life. That’s where Hand-in-Hand comes in: according to its website, the NGO aims to “enhance the lives of the Egyptian amputee population through providing them with 3D printed prosthetic devices for free.”

Hand-in-Hand provides below knee prosthetic devices, as well as below elbow prosthetic devices, and below wrist (palm) prosthetic devices. Its newest offering as of 2024 is above knee prosthetic devices.

To acquire one of these 3D printed prosthetics, amputees should first access the foundation’s Facebook or Instagram pages and send a picture and video of the amputation’s location to ensure that a device can be manufactured. Once Hand-in-Hand has confirmed, an appointment will be set for the patient to visit the head office, during which documentation and personal data will be collected and social research conducted. The foundation will also complete physical and psychological assessments of the patient, and take the necessary measurements to make the prosthesis.

The device is then made, and if no modifications are needed, the patient returns in a week to pick it up. Monthly and annual follow-ups and maintenance appointments will then be scheduled.

Slice Engineering is hoping to bring more visibility to Hand-in-Hand’s inspiring work of using 3D printing to help the people who need it most.

“Hand-in-Hand exemplifies the significant, positive impact that our industry can have on the lives of people around the world. It’s heartening to see these important humanitarian goals fulfilled in such a meaningful way,” said Slice Engineering CEO Dan Barousse.

If you’re interested in financially contributing to Hand-to-Hand’s cause, you can do so here.

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