DALLAS, Texas (October 11, 2011) - A Founder's Grant from Speedway Children's Charities (SCC) Texas chapter has made it possible for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) to acquire a revolutionary CAD/CAM system for the casting and manufacture of braces and prosthetic devices. The system, officially dedicated Tuesday, makes the hospital the only pediatric health-care facility in the Southwest with all aspects of this advanced technology.
The CAD/CAM system is a powerful new tool for patient care at TSRHC that consists of a state-of-the-art scanner, a precision carving device and accompanying software. Made by Vorum Research Corporation of Vancouver, British Columbia, the carver [ditto above] will be used in the design, fitting and manufacture of about 200 braces a year for young patients diagnosed with scoliosis. In addition, the system will produce dozens of prosthetic devices annually for amputee patients.
TSRHC was awarded a $150,000 Founder's Grant in honor of Maj. General Thomas Sadler, the founding executive director of SCC. Those funds allowed the hospital to purchase the first CAD/CAM machine and software in the state of Texas as well as the Southwest.
"We couldn't be more grateful to Speedway Children's Charities for its generosity," said Bob Walker, TSRHC executive vice president and administrator. "The state-of-the-art CAD/CAM technology promises faster, more accurate service and improved outcomes for our young patients with scoliosis and limb differences. It will change hundreds of lives."
In keeping with TSRHC's commitment to a child-friendly environment, and in recognition of the SCC's supporting contribution for the new addition, the hospital's carver is wrapped in a NASCAR™ theme and the room housing the machine is decorated with a mural depicting attendance at a racing event.
The dedication was held at the hospital with TSRHC Executive Vice President and Robert "Bob" Walker, TSRHC staff orthopaedist Karl E. Rathjen, M.D., Vice President of Development Stephanie Brigger, Assistant Administrator Don Katz, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage, SCC's board member and Vice President of Trustees Scott Murray and 12-year-old patient Paulina Fuller of Clifton, Texas, who was fitted for a unique ballerina prosthetic produced by the CAD/CAM system.
"Making a difference in the life of a child is as good as it gets," Murray said. "As a charter member of the Speedway Children's Charities Texas Chapter, I'm most pleased to have been afforded that opportunity the past 15 years. Since our founding in 1997, we have distributed more than $7.6 million in funding to children's organizations in the north Texas area, including the world-renown Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, a global leader in the treatment of pediatric orthopedic conditions. As Scottish Rite Hospital celebrates 90-years of excellence in caring for the children of the world, we at Speedway Children's Charities are both humbled and proud of our relationship with such a life-changing institution."
The machinery gives practitioners in the TSRHC Orthotics and Prosthetics Department the option of digitally capturing the three-dimensional shapes of their patients' torsos, legs or residual limbs with the scanGogh II™ laser scanner, which is small enough to fit in a practitioner's hand. Specific measurements are taken and blended with shapes already stored in the system. Patients' X-rays or photographs can then be merged with the 3-D image on the computer screen.
Practitioners can easily modify the 3-D image, unlike the more cumbersome traditional modifications using plaster and sculpting tools. With this new CAD/CAM computer-driven technology, the casting process is completed more rapidly and efficiently, with less stress and inconvenience to the patients. This system avoids the need to apply plaster casts to many patients and achieves a new level of accuracy and reproducibility.
The digital images produced by this system will replace shelves filled with plaster casts weighing up to 10 times as much as the lightweight foam blanks used by the CAD/CAM system. The foam blanks are carved by a computerized milling machine. These models are then used to make custom braces or prostheses for the children treated at the hospital.
According to a recently published long-term study by the hospital, many adolescent scoliosis patients do not wear their braces as much as prescribed, a key component to their successful treatment. The study also found that if worn as prescribed, the braces have a high likelihood of preventing curve progression, avoiding the need for surgery.
"These two findings compel us to design braces that are more comfortable and less noticeable to the patient while wearing a brace under their clothing," said Donald Katz, former director of Orthotics and current assistant administrator at TSRHC who led the study. "With the use of the new CAD/CAM technology, we're able to provide higher-quality customized braces without having to subject patients to a casting procedure, and we can design braces with increased capability to address the three-dimensional aspects of their scoliosis."