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Using Product Design Techniques to Improve the Lives of Reconstructive Surgery Patients

Research led by Cardiff Metropolitan University in collaboration with University of South Wales and University of Wales Trinity Saint David

By using digital data to plan surgery and develop prostheses, Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Medical Applications Group (MAG), part of the Wales Institute for Research in Art and Design, has helped bring about major advances in reconstructive surgical procedures, improving the quality of life for thousands whilst saving money for the UK taxpayer.

The accuracy of Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques has minimised the ‘craft’ aspect of prosthetic development, leading to better quality and consistency.  This has reduced the number of invasive patient interactions from four to one, and cut the time required to provide a patient with a correct prosthetic ‘fit’ from one year, to just six weeks.  The methods have already benefitted around 2,500 patients across 84 hospitals.

By developing more accurate prostheses, patients spend less time in theatre, thus reducing the risk of infection.  Fewer hospital visits and less pressure on surgical and professional medical time have resulted in lower costs to the NHS.

Under the leadership of Dr Dominic Eggbeer, the team also utilises the same haptic technology used by the computer gaming industry for character creation, and are now looking at the use of product design technologies in orthopaedics and into the processes of developing artificial limbs.

“The technology and knowhow at PDR have enabled me to turn ideas into reality, geared towards improving clinical care. From the development of highly realistic models for surgical training, pre-operative planning, intra-operative templating and even custom implants, the support I have had from PDR has been exemplary.” Ian Pallister, Professor of Trauma & Orthopaedics

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