The war in Ukraine is still raging, and the number of victims is growing day by day. Soldiers and civilians alike, the country’s inhabitants are affected by the violence of the fighting, with injuries often resulting in limb amputation. Additive manufacturing could help these victims, with an Italian company mobilizing to help those in need. Isinnova is a company from Brescia, in the Lombardy region, known for answering the call of hospitals in distress during the Covid-19 pandemic, 3D printing valves for ICU patients who were unavailable.
This time, the company, led by CEO Cristian Fracassi, made 3D printed prostheses to help Ukrainians who have had a limb amputated due to the war. The Italian company responded to a call from an NGO of doctors in the country asking for help for the over 3,000 people who have lost a limb due to the conflict. Many projects have already been set up to support Ukraine, including one by Unlimited Tomorrow that provided prosthetic arms. Now it’s Isinnova’s turn by providing 3D printed leg prostheses, creating the charity project called “Letizia”.
Letizia, A More Accessible Prosthetic
Why was 3D printing chosen for the production of these prostheses? First of all, because of the considerable cost reduction. Today, a prosthesis made using traditional methods costs more than 5,000 euros. Thanks to 3D printing, it was possible to cut this cost down to 500 euros. Moreover, thanks to this technology, it is possible to customize the design. The structure can be covered with a special cover, which improves the aesthetic aspect and ensures the cleanliness and protection of the components, and also increases the comfort of use for the patient by facilitating its adaptation.
The project is entirely “open source”, i.e. it is shared on the web to be downloaded and used for free worldwide. Depending on the level of amputation, it will be enough to download the reference file and stop printing when the desired height is reached. It will be possible to choose between different models according to the needs of the patients. According to Isinnova, the Letizia leg prosthesis can be adapted to any type of amputation: trans-femoral, knee disarticulation, trans-tibial, foot amputation.
At present, 101 leg prostheses made of different materials have been donated. As far as the composition of the piece is concerned, the foot is made of polyurethane, the frame of aluminum and the covering of 3D printed plastic.
What makes the project even more interesting is the story behind its name: Letizia Bonomi is a girl from Lumezzane who lost a leg as a child and used this experience to help the company in the design process, giving advice on how to make the prosthesis. Letizia is also the name of Cristian Fracassi’s mother. Isinnova’s latest project, Charlotte (the name of the valve created for the Covid-19 pandemic) is the name of his wife. For more information on the project, click HERE.
*Cover photo credits: Isinnova