People who have suffered a life-changing injury are getting a helping hand at Morriston Hospital using innovative 3D printing technology.
Specialists at the hospital and a leading innovation centre in Cardiff have teamed up with patients to create and test 3D printed splints to protect and support the hands of people with brachial plexus injuries.
Depending on the severity of their injury, people can lose the use of their shoulder, elbow, hand or even their entire arm from the shoulder down.
Prototype splints are now being tested by two young sportsmen who both lost the use of their right arm because of brachial plexus injuries. They have received treatment at the Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery at Morriston Hospital, which provides an all-Wales service for people with such injuries.
They tend to affect younger, more active people, many of whom have to wear splints to protect their wrists and hands from injury and to maintain good position.
These splints are usually made of cloth and fastened with Velcro – but they are not particularly attractive and hard for the patient to do up themselves.
The Morriston-based service has the only two brachial plexus surgeons in Wales, Dean Boyce and Hywel Dafydd, as well as the only specialist brachial plexus physiotherapist, Marc Lloyd.