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3D technology for burns management

Former Royal North Shore Hospital burns unit patient Amanda Wright was determined future patients should not have to experience traditional casting methods to help manage severe facial burns like she had. 

It was through the fundraising efforts of her and husband David that the Orthotics, Occupational Therapy and Severe Burn Injury Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital came across modern 3D technology that would transform the care of patients with burn injuries.  

The multidisciplinary team have been awarded a $50,000 grant as part of Northern Sydney Local Health District’s innovation program to fund the 3D scanning technology at the hospital to improve patient experience and clinical outcomes for patients with facial burn injuries, like Amanda’s.

RNSH Orthotics Department Senior Orthotist Tom Short said the new technology will replace traditional casting methods in the design and manufacture of transparent facial orthoses used for facial scar management.

The hospital receives a high volume of severe burns patients, and many of those with burn injuries to their face and neck require specialised face masks to assist in recovery
RNSH Orthotics Department Senior Orthotist Tom Short

“The current issue with our process is that a direct mould must be taken onto the skin and scarred area which can be very sensitive and painful. 

“The process takes several hours to prepare and mould, require significant skill to apply and can be easily deformed.”

The new 3D scanning will simplify this process significantly for Tom and his team. 

Occupational Therapist Akane Katsu said the technology will have a significant impact on patient experience, most importantly by reducing re-traumatisation that occurs by the traditional casting methods. 

“The 3D scanning is contact-free and less painful for patients,” Akane said. 

“Patients will not require general anaesthesia to manage the distress from undergoing the traditional casting methods, and it can be taken in the most functional position and will enable more accurate imaging of the face.”

Amanda said: “We are so thrilled SBU will finally be receiving this much needed piece of equipment. 

“A big thank you to our family, friends, and the staff in the burns unit for all of your support.”

The 3D scanning technology will arrive at the hospital in the last quarter of this year.

To find out more about the NSLHD innovation program, please visit 

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