Since the beginning of 2017, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as Doctors Without Borders, and a hospital in Jordan have been piloting a trial program to produce 3-D-printed prosthetic limbs for a set of volunteer patients. The five patients, which include children, at the MSF Reconstructive Surgery Hospital at the Al-Mowasah Hospital in Amman, Jordan, lost their limbs as a result of the conflicts in Syria, as well as Iraq and Yemen.
3-D-printed prostheses are significantly faster, cheaper and easier to produce than more traditional versions, making them accessible to these patients who would otherwise likely be unable to attain any prosthetics. It takes just 24 hours to design and print a limb, and it can be specifically customized for each patient.
“Rather than exploring electronic solutions or very complicated solutions, we want to keep things as simple as possible but also durable,” Safa Herfat, one of MSF’s biomedical engineers, told New Atlas. The cost of a 3-D-printed prosthesis comes in at around $20, “rather than the hundreds of dollars a normal upper limb prosthesis would cost.”