3D Printed Prosthetics Help Ukrainians Live, Get Back to the Fight


In the midst of the brutality and daily suffering that wartime brings, it is sometimes necessary to find the bright side to an otherwise bleak situation. These stories of bravery, courage and perseverance in the face or adversity have sparked an international outpouring for support of the Ukrainian people. Additive manufacturing has been used in this area to assist the war effort with vehicle repairs, weapons and civilian aid. It also helps the injured. The protracted conflict has still left 174,000 sq km of Ukrainian countryside covered in unexploded ordinance and hidden landmines. This can lead to death and injury of soldiers as well as civilians who wander into dangerous areas.

This has, among other things, led to a rise in demand for replacement prosthetic arms or legs for those who lost them in the conflict. Earlier this year, we reported on a Canadian nonprofit organization known as the Victoria Hand Project and their “Hands for Ukraine” project, which was aimed at raising money for efforts to 3D print prosthetics in Ukraine. Unbroken, an organization that provides aid to Ukraine, has received a donation of 3D printers from a second Canadian nonprofit organization. The goal is to 3D print prosthetics in Ukraine for adults and children who have been injured.

Prosthetics in Ukraine are helping veterans get back into the fight

Kostiantyn Nikypanchuk (left), and Serhii Yuvtushenko(right) try out the first of 3D-printed prostheses created by the donated 3D Printers.

Unbroken in Ukraine helps wounded people to regain their mobility by providing prosthetics, surgeries, training for physical rehabilitation and more. The organization has reported that over five thousand adults and children have lost limbs since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country in 2022. The Canadian Temerty Foundation has donated the latest 3D printers. Jim Temerty is a Ukrainian Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, and entrepreneur.

The printers will be installed and operated by local operators on the Unbroken site. With the addition of 3D printers on site, the team can reduce manufacturing time from three days down to eight hours. “We conducted a number of tests, and we’re happy with the result,” Explained Kostiantyn Nykypanchuk, one of the 3D printer operators. “We’re just getting started. We are building on their abilities as the war requires a huge increase in prosthetics.” echoed Dr. Peter Derkach, a Canadian-Ukrainian doctor who assisted with the installation and training.

After receiving the first 3D-printed prosthetics that worked, some recipients participated in a charity run in Kyiv where they were cheered on by supporters. Dubbed the “world’s longest marathon,” the event was a symbol of hope and pride, while the name served as a stark reminder of the length of time since Russia’s first invasion of Ukraine in 2014. Serhii Yavtushenko was a veteran who attended the event and reported on his experiences with his prosthetic. “I had no problem with my new Canadian leg.” He shared a sentiment with many veterans – he wanted to get back in the fight and continue serving and defending his country. Click HERE to read the full story.

The World’s Longest Marathon event in Kyiv, where many veterans and civilians walked and ran on new 3D printed prosthetics.

What are your thoughts on the possibilities that 3D-printed prosthetic limbs provide for those affected by war in Ukraine? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

*All photo credits: ANTON SKYBA/THE GLOBE AND MAIL



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