New "hand" on duty - the first child with burn amputation in China successfully installed 3D print hands

The five-year-old Xiaohu (a pseudonym) lost his left hand two years ago, and for him, some games that require hands-on operation have become a luxury. Fortunately, Wuhan Third Hospital recently installed 3D printed "newbie", which is the first time in China to successfully install 3D printing hands on children with burn amputation. In the days to come, the new "hand" will become a "good helper" for Xiaohu.

An accident in October 2013 became the pain that Ms. Ding, the mother of Little Tiger, could not erase. Ms. Ding said, "I worked in Wuhan that year, Xiaohu was in my hometown Dawu County. On the day of the accident, he fell into a 1.5-meter-deep fire pit, and the burning firewood burned like a tiger. It’s good that Grandpa arrived and jumped. I saved the child in the pit."

After arriving at the hospital, the tiger's clothes had been glued to the skin and were diagnosed as three to four degrees of burns. The tiger's left hand was cut off. Xiaohu’s family can’t remember how many tears they have lost, but they can’t recover the cruel reality.

The incompleteness of the body and the ridicule of other mischievous children made Xiaohu’s childhood lack of joy, and the entire family was thus covered with painful shadows that were difficult to eliminate.

In May of this year, when the family was worried about Xiaohu’s future life, a phone call brought a glimmer of light. The Burn Rehabilitation Center of the Third Hospital of Wuhan told Xiaohu’s family that they are researching new medical applications—using the emerging 3D printing technology to create functional fake hands to achieve some of the functions of the hand, which may make Xiaohu a “newbie”. With hope, the family brought the tiger to Wuhan.

Professor Xie Weiguo, deputy dean of the Third Hospital of Wuhan and director of the Burns Department, is the person in charge of this rescue project. After careful measurement, the doctor entered the data of the tiger's amputation stump into the computer and designed it with special software. With the help of a computer expert, the component data of the fake hand is transferred to the 3D printer, and the part is printed soon. The rehabilitation technician assembled the parts together and a 3D print hand tailored for the tiger was born.

Xie Weiguo introduced that compared with the traditional mechanical prosthesis weighing more than ten kilograms, the 3D printing hand installed on Xiaohu only weighs 120 grams. In the past, the production of prostheses required patients to travel back and forth between hospitals and prosthetic manufacturers, and to measure the data. The prostheses produced also need to be repeatedly polished to be suitable for patients. If a functional mechanical prosthesis is installed, the cheapest is more than 100,000 yuan, and the doctor must train the patient for more than one month.

Xie Weiguo said that the age of Xiaohu is still small. Even if it is equipped with mechanical prostheses, it needs to be replaced regularly according to the growth and development. The cost is very amazing. The price of a fake hand using 3D printing is less than a thousand dollars, and the production time is about one day. The training time is only a few hours. “This 3D printer is not only lighter, but also fast to produce, and the cost is lower... It can also be re-measured according to the child's growing growth. The 3D printer also uses the unique 'stress coat' advantage of the burn department, flexibility, simulation It’s more like a real hand.”

The reporter saw that this new "left hand" is much wider than the right hand of Xiaohu, and it feels a bit hard; the palm is a black transmission, and the fingers and the back of the hand are made of polyethylene, wrapped in a skin-colored "stress coat". The joint movement is flexible.

Xie Weiguo said that in the past, 3D printers were often used for trauma patients, and their wounds were flat after amputation; the stumps of patients with burn amputations were not flat, and the remaining limbs were left with burn scars. Xiaohu's print hand is designed to be more wide, making it difficult to rub the scars left by the burns while the wrist is moving.

"I am as cool as a machine warrior." After installing the "newbie", Xiaohu is very excited. After a brief training, he quickly adapted to the use of the power of the wrist to control the prosthetic hand. Facing the reporter, he grabbed the cup from time to time and seemed to be immersed in the joy of incomparable.

Although this fake hand can't make the finger move freely like a human hand, experts say that with the development of technology, the future 3D printer will be more flexible, and this innovation will also create a new era of rehabilitation for amputated patients.


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