Video Case Study: Thunder Bay Orthopaedic

At a Glance

Thunder Bay Orthopaedic Inc.

The only provider of a wide range of custom orthotic braces in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada and Northwestern Ontario.

  • 400% efficiency gain
  • Better-fitting devices
  • Digitally-connected central fabrication

PDF version of this case study...
The above video segment features O&P practitioner and clinic owner Brian Berezowski describing his experience with CAD/CAM during a Vorum Academy educational webinar in February 2017. Watch the entire educational webinar recording on the Vorum Academy.

“It’s outrageously easy to use, enables me to work four times faster, and makes me a better practitioner.”

Four times faster and a better practitioner.

Small clinic helps more patients thanks to a 400% efficiency gain and reliable central fabrication network.

"I had two choices: I could work overtime on nights and weekends, or I could invest in CAD/CAM."
“When my partner retired, I needed to up my production rate," explains Brian Berezowski CO.(c)., C Ped (c)., RTO.(c). and owner of Thunder Bay Orthopaedic Inc. "Patients depend on my clinic—we’re the only one in the Thunder Bay area—so I couldn’t start turning people away. I tried but failed to hire another orthotist, as they are in very short supply and it is difficult to recruit individuals to Northwestern Ontario. I realized I had two choices: I could work overtime on nights and weekends, or I could invest in CAD/CAM.”

“I’d first heard about Vorum in 1985. Two years ago when I started my research into this technology, I knew that all the big O&P players in the industry were using Vorum. The more I researched the alternative systems and spoke to users, the clearer it became that Vorum is the gold standard for O&P CAD/CAM for clinics of all sizes.” Brian purchased Vorum’s Spectra 3D scanner and Canfit O&P design software, and he now works with two Canadian central fabrication partners who also use Vorum technology.

A digitally-connected central fabrication network.
For custom knee braces, Brian emails patient scan data to The Knee Centre in Edmonton (a division of Karl Hager Limb & Brace) who make the mold on a Vorum carver and fabricate the final devices. “You simply cannot beat the accuracy and fit of the truly custom braces made by The Knee Centre with the Vorum solution. I’m so pleased, I have tripled my knee brace volume with them over the past year.”

For AFOs, TLSOs, and other devices, Brian scans a patient, applies shape modifications to the resulting digital model, then emails the design to Myrdal Orthopaedic Technologies (MOT) in Winnipeg. “The MOT guys carve our foam molds, and their service level is awesome. If I email them a design file at 2 p.m. they can ship the mold back to me the next day, ready for my technicians to fabricate the final device. It’s working very smoothly, and I eventually plan to have MOT also drape some of the plastic for me.”

“It’s like comparing a horse and buggy with a Formula One race car.”
“The first benefit of the Vorum solution is pure speed. 3D scanning takes only a couple of minutes, and using Canfit to digitally apply modifications to a 3D scan is so much faster than sculpting a plaster cast by hand—it’s like comparing a horse and buggy with a Formula One race car. They both get you where you want to go, but one does it a lot faster than the other!”

“I recently had two AFO and two TLSO scans that required modification—it was 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. By 5 p.m. I was heading home for the weekend, having modified all the scans and emailed the design files to MOT for mold fabrication on their Vorum carver. Normally, that much plaster-work would have taken me over four hours and I would have needed to come in on the weekend.”

“As well as saving time, the Vorum solution lets us achieve things that are nearly impossible using traditional casting and plaster modification methods. I recently had a patient who was missing 20% of his skull after a brain injury and subsequent infection. In a couple of minutes, I was able to accurately capture the shape of his skull with a non-contact scan. Using Canfit, I then modeled his complete head in five minutes by copying the shape of the intact side of his skull and duplicating it in mirror image. That would have taken me about two hours, or 24 times longer, to do in plaster. The model was used to fabricate a helmet that fit like a glove, which enabled the patient to quickly and safely return home while waiting for a permanent, 3D-printed replacement skull component.”

“The fit is simply amazing. Vorum’s precision tools make me a better practitioner.”
“Better devices start with better measurements of the patient’s shape, and 3D scanning is much more accurate than casting. The next part of the Vorum magic is the Canfit design software: I can dial in the exact amount of bend, twist, build-up, or reduction that I want, which means I now have the power to make shape modifications with incredible precision, eliminating guesswork. And since every change I make is tracked in Canfit, I can isolate and alter any modification with just a few clicks. I can also easily compare my design modifications with treatment outcomes, which lets me learn how effective a given approach has been. That enables me to continuously fine-tune my skills, and it makes me a better practitioner.”

“You can’t beat the wow-factor of the Vorum 3D scanner.”
“CAD/CAM has impacted my business in all sorts of positive ways, some of which I didn’t even anticipate. For example, there’s a real marketing benefit to using Vorum technology because it boosts the image of my clinic to both patients and referring physicians. You can’t beat the wow-factor of the Spectra 3D scanner—my patients are really impressed when they see their scan being built on screen in real-time.”

“What a great investment, I wish I’d started five years ago.”
“3D printing is the next big development in CAD/CAM. Fit, function, and cosmetics have always been the three keys to O&P device design, and 3D printing enables improvements in all three. As always, Vorum is leading the way and I look forward to working with them to introduce 3D printing into my practice.”

“Every O&P clinic—big and small—seriously needs to look at the Vorum solution. It’s been a life-saver for my practice and it’s outrageously easy-to-use—it works the way orthotists think. I’m having so much fun, I may not want to retire!”