October 1, 2018 8:29 pm
Updated: October 1, 2018 8:32 pm

Alberta Children’s Hospital looks to expand 3D printing to help patient care

WATCH: The Alberta Children's Hospital has a new challenge for Calgarians; staff are asking members of the public to help them take medical 3D printing into a whole new dimension. Gil Tucker reports.

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Staff at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary are asking the public to help them improve patient care with new uses for 3D printed items.

The ACH kicked off a new project called the kidSIM 3D Printing Challenge on Monday, Oct. 1, looking for suggestions on how to use 3D printing technology to help the hospital’s young patients.

Staff hope to “generate ideas, and not just ideas from health professionals,” the project’s director, Dr. Vince Grant, said.

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“Ideas from the community. Ideas from patients themselves or their families. What kind of things they struggle with, what could we print that actually might make their life better or easier?”

READ MORE: Ontario researchers use 3D-printing technology to replace part of dog’s skull

Grant said 3D items designed for individual patients would help medical staff prepare for surgeries and other procedures.

“We are rehearsing your child’s surgery on a prototype of your child’s brain,” he said.

ACH nurse Norma Oliver is optimistic the technology will benefit patients in many ways.

“You can make tools, you can make toys for the kids, you can make functional aids,” Oliver said.

The technology also has plenty of potential as a teaching tool for medical procedures and training.

“3D printing is relatively new to health care,” Grant said. “We can build, let’s say, a human skull or a human brain, a brain that’s sick, a brain that has a tumour.”

Members of the public have until Oct. 31 to submit suggestions on 3D printing at https://ideas.kidsiminnovates.ca/

Grant said he’s looking forward to a lot of interesting ideas, “The sky’s going to be the limit!”

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