University of Twente Student Theses


Towards a software-based workflow for manufacturing 3D printed transtibial prostheses in Sierra Leone

Bakker, J.R.P. (2024) Towards a software-based workflow for manufacturing 3D printed transtibial prostheses in Sierra Leone.

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Abstract:Introduction: The WHO estimates that 35 to 40 million people in low-or middle-income countries (LMICs) are in need of prostheses or orthotics, yet only 5-15% have access to prosthetics care. This is partly due to the lack of properly trained personnel. The 3D Sierra Leone (3DSL) project aims to contribute to a solution by standardizing the transtibial prosthesis manufacturing workflow with the 3DProsthetX software. The development of 3DProsthetX paves the way for future expansion of the project to other workshops in Sierra Leone. This thesis provides a first investigation into expansion by investigating the usual care workflows in other workshops and evaluating 3DProsthetX in practice. Methods: Two studies were performed. The first study investigated the individual steps of the usual care workflows for transtibial prostheses and explored the experiences of patients and prosthetic workshop employees with these workflows. The second study focused on the development and evaluation of 3DProsthetX. Next to this, the user acceptance of 3DProsthetX in other prosthetics facilities was investigated. Results: The results showed difficulties in the usual care workflows in critical steps such as stump shape acquisition, shape rectification, and dynamic alignment. Challenges were also described in external factors, such as few and poorly trained staff, limited material supply and limited accessibility of the workshops for patients. The 3DprosthetX software was positively received and showed that stump shape acquisition and shape rectification were easy to perform. However, challenges persisted in steps such as fitting, dynamic alignment and rehabilitation as they still require prosthetics knowledge. Discussion: While several crucial steps were easier to perform in the software-based workflow, challenges in dynamic alignment and fitting processes require further investigation. Before expanding to other workshops, challenges should be addressed, including simplifying the fitting and dynamic alignment, proper training of staff, electricity issues, material supply, and improving accessibility of workshops.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Elisabeth-TweeSteden Ziekenhuis
Faculty:TNW: Science and Technology
Subject:44 medicine
Programme:Technical Medicine MSc (60033)
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