Romans Ferrari & Artec 3D revolutionise burn patient care

Christophe Debat, CEO of Romans Ferrari & Sergey Sukhovey, CXO at Artec 3D, discuss 3D scanning for facial burn victims & patient-centred care

Please introduce yourself and your role.

“Hi, I’m Christophe Debat, CEO of Romans Ferrari, a medical rehabilitation centre near Lyon in France. Our purpose is to treat and improve the autonomy of patients after a life-altering event. Along with the immediate help in healing, our centre is instrumental in minimising scarring and getting young patients back on track.

“My role in short is to provide our highly qualified teams of doctors, nurses, and rehabilitation staff with the means to take care of our patients. Our mission is named ‘artisans du soins’ which translates to care artisans because we nurture ethical care. This is in the belief that care should be approached as ‘one person taking care of a person’ in a holistic sense, rather than just adhering to a list of steps within the care process.

“At Romans Ferrari, everybody’s job is caring and this spans far beyond our treatments in wound care, scar treatment, and reconstructive surgery; we strive to deliver true patient-centred care, to guide patients to continue their daily lives with as few disruptions as possible.”

 

What led you to work in a paediatric rehabilitation facility?

“I began my professional career as a banker, completing my training at EDHEC in Lille. My faith as a committed Christian guided me into a caring role as I moved into an establishment for severely disabled people in Alsace for 5 years before starting as a director at Romans Ferrari in 2001. This was after a member of the board came to ask me to take over the management, and he was very persuasive. This work is a passion of mine, which is why I’m still here today.”

Christophe Debat, CEO of Romans Ferrari

Christophe Debat, CEO of Romans Ferrari

Please introduce yourself and your role.

“Hello, I’m Sergey Sukhovey, one of the founders of Artec 3D and my role is Chief Experience Officer. Within this role, I manage the company’s major leads, explore new market opportunities, and oversee potential developments in various industries and applications. 

“In addition to this, I manage the internal processes that Artec 3D needs to implement to guide its rapid growth: A significant part of my role is to identify and pursue potential opportunities across the globe – this is in order to expand the company’s presence in governments, public offices, and private companies and institutions. I also oversee customer experience research, customer development, and competitor analytics.  

“Earlier in my career I served as Artec’s Chief Operating Officer, Executive Director of Legal & Finance, and prior to that, the company’s Chief Business Development Officer.”

 

What is Artec 3D?

“Artec 3D is a leading manufacturer and developer of professional 3D scanners and software, creating advanced scanning solutions that are used to improve operations across many industries, including manufacturing, automotive, forensics and healthcare.

“Designed to capture high-resolution detailed 3D scans, Artec 3D’s capabilities provide an accurate representation of objects for simulation, analysis, and monitoring. Paired with software, these scans become not only just 3D models of real assets but can also be utilised to streamline systems and processes through digital twinning capabilities.

“3D scanning disrupts the medical field by allowing contactless forms of treatment, departing from traditional medical examinations and procedures which often rely on invasive techniques.

“Moreover, Artec 3D’s enhance diagnoses, surgical planning, and supplements the creation of custom prosthetics or implants. 3D scanning can also improve medical education and patient outcomes through virtual simulations which can strengthen training processes.”

Sergey Sukhovey, Chief Experience Officer at Artec 3D

Sergey Sukhovey, Chief Experience Officer at Artec 3D

How do you use 3D scanning as an aid for patient-centred care?

Christophe Debat:

“Romans Ferrari’s medical staff had been treating severely burned children for many years and were committed to finding a less painful alternative to traditional treatments. Its main objective was to create special masks, able to heal burns on children's faces and other body parts. Naturally, this was a project of great delicacy, specifically when reproducing the shapes of burnt faces.

“To make a precise, flexible mask, a highly accurate digital replica needs to be obtained before creating a facial prosthesis. This is where Artec 3D comes into play. Both versatile and lightweight, Artec 3D’s scanner, Artec Eva, has been a go-to device in healthcare in part for its level of precision, alongside ease of use and very mild learning curve.

“Alongside this is the 3D printing side of the procedure. For this, our medical specialists turned to Formlabs, a world leader in 3D printing. Once the facial scan of a young patient has been obtained, we use Formlabs' Fuse 1 selective laser sintering (SLS) printer as a mould for thermoforming the final compression mask.

“This entire process involves scanning the patient using Artec Eva, importing this into CAD software then processing the imagery for printing. This operation is quick and precise, allowing us to have the result in just a few hours.”

 

How have you revolutionised the medical process for children who have suffered facial burns?

Christophe Debat:

“The procedure of creating face masks for burn victims used to surround a traditional plaster technique, in which plaster strips are put directly to the skin and used to model the face. This method is incredibly painful, putting a strain on already fragile skin as well as the emotional implications of additional pain being inflicted.”

Sergey Sukhovey:

“By implementing 3D scanning within its treatment procedure, Romans Ferrari have created highly precise compressive masks which depart from these traditional methods. As the scanning process is entirely contactless, quick, and precise, this allows medical professionals to dedicate more time to emotionally support the patient.”

Christophe Debat:

“The road to recovery from a facial burn injury is slow, challenging and immensely hard on the entire family. Knowing that innovation in healthcare can provide a sense of resilience and progress are essential, as these ingredients for hope are vital to burn victims as they rebuild their lives.

“3D technology is an essential phase of our new workflow and has allowed us to produce more than a hundred masks in one year. We could not achieve this level of production with conventional methods.”

 

How have patients responded?

Christophe Debat:

“The emotional support we provide has been enriched by this innovative approach and has been particularly appreciated, as it allows patients to focus more on their recovery and less on the physical discomfort associated with treatment.

“Patients have been able to regain confidence and strength during their recovery, with feedback from families emphasising the human qualities of our team here at Romans Ferrari. Of course, we strive to improve our levels of care each and every day, but to receive such support is a great motivator.

“Romans Ferrari is an adventure, not simply a company. We take up the challenge of maintaining our knowledge by recruiting and retaining our key professionals. Our treasure is our know-how and our guideline is our conviction that care is a personal path. These aspects are our compass, and to receive such positive feedback about the benefits of our approach is deeply encouraging.”
 

Can you tell us about your partnerships?

Christophe Debat:

“Since 1997, Romans Ferrari have been developing innovative prosthesis for burn patients: these prosthetics include silicone and embossed additions, which have a dynamic action by applying pressure to a specific area. To make these prosthetics, we have been developing a production process, and since 2017, we have been seeking to improve it. 

“We created a partnership with Centrale Lyon and Insa, which are engineering universities in Lyon. A group of students analysed our current processes which has led us to build this new solution of building prosthetics with Artec 3D’s scanner alongside Formlab’s 3D printer, to complete the moulding stage without physical contact. This is immensely beneficial as before this innovation, this was an incredibly difficult stage for patients.

“Our work hasn’t stopped here as this success has led us to create a group named ‘L’Atelier’. Every 3 months our doctors and engineers join forces to work on improving our care, as we identify and take action on our pain points to improve current processes.”

 

What do the next 12 months hold for you and the company?

Christophe Debat:

“The year to come will be full of projects for us as we will firstly begin to build new buildings to welcome adult burn patients. 

“Our second aim is to improve our sewing process as it is currently really difficult to implement the relief silicone for the seamstresses, so we use compressive clothing. We aim to find another solution based on industrial techniques, alongside 3D printers.

“Lastly, we are preparing for an energy transition as our care processes use a lot of energy. We plan to install photovoltaic panels on our buildings and parking lots to balance this.”

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