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Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals

3D printer is resource for addressing patient needs

January 09, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. (MADONNA)--Madonna’s Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering’s researchers are among leading scientists and engineers around the world already using 3D printing to develop new tools and methods to advance the health care industry. 

Three-dimensional printing is defined by the Food and Drug Administration as a process that creates a three-dimensional object by building successive layers of raw material, also called additive manufacturing.

With funds from a Goldwin Foundation grant, the Institute was able to purchase a 3D printer.

3D Printer from Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals on Vimeo.

 “Having these resources available at our fingertips every single day, day in and day out, really helps our patients to realize their full potential and meet their therapeutic goals,” said Rehabilitation Engineering Program Leader Tabatha Sorenson, O.T.D., O.T.R./L.,C.A.P.S., C.P.A.M.

Sorenson collaborates with Rehabilitation Engineering Center of Excellence Assistant Research Director Chase Pfeifer, Ph.D., to develop solutions to address patient needs.

“The 3D printer helped us print a dynamic extension splint as a concept for potential ways to help patients regain some hand function and be more functional with their therapeutic activities in their therapy sessions,” Sorenson explained. “In working with Dr. Pfeifer we were able to design components that may not be available on the market. We are able to customize device to address the individualized needs and fit of the patients. This customization helps patients be as functional as possible, whether using a splint or other device.”

Pfeifer has also worked with patient care teams to use the 3D printer’s ability to develop custom devices to help patients and their family members achieve greater independence.

Dayna Braaten was having trouble taking a walk with her boyfriend, Devon Jones, a patient who was using a wheelchair as he recovered from a traumatic brain injury, while also pushing her young son in his stroller.

After learning more about Dayna and Devon’s needs and some research, Pfeifer 3D printed and assembled two custom parts to connect the baby’s stroller and Devon’s wheelchair.  He also assembled extended handles for the wheelchair to help Dayna steer them both.

The Rehabilitation Engineering Center of Excellence was launched in January 2015 with the goal of becoming a “living lab” that will create a culture of technology innovation and quickly deliver solutions to patients.Click here to learn more about the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering