The 3D printed Arm cast is nothing new in the world of 3D printing. We first saw the famous exoskeleton design at the 3Dprintshow in London 2014. This print was ground breaking and the potential to revolutionise the treatment of broken bones looked imminent. However, three years later and there seems to have been very little advancement in the area. Are hospitals really going to purchase hugely expensive SLS/SLA 3D printers to print exoskeleton arm casts when the traditional method is a fraction of the price and extremely quick. The concept seems to work, but the financial implications hold the 3D printed arm cast idea back.
Advantages of a 3d printed arm cast.
We decided to report on one of the latest and most exciting new attempt to 3D print a successful cast from ‘Mediprint‘. Mediprint are on a journey to revolutionise the medical industry through 3D printing and look to have an extremely innovative design with their interpretation of a printed arm cast.
The concept behind the idea is simple, within a few hours an FDM style 3D printer can print the arm cast in two parts and then it can be attached to an arm using ‘snap fits’. With the technology advancing all the time through quicker print speeds and advanced materials, could this actually be a viable attempt that could be used in hospitals? The advantages of this design is clear, it can be printed in a few hours (this would work well with most hospitals, as usually there is a wait of a few hours anyway until your broken bone can be put in a cast. If you’re unlucky enough to break a bone in the middle of the night, you might have to wait until the next day anyway). It’s lighter than a plaster cast. Your skin can breath through the cast, unlike traditional methods. You can itch and scratch your skin without having to use a ruler or your grans knitting needle. You can also take a shower/bath with the cast as the plastic won’t absorb water unlike bandages. Finally, it’s cheap to make and faster to put on and take off. There would be no need for the cast to be cut off, you would simply un-clip the snap fits. It could potentially be re-used as well if the medical conditions were suitable. One last point is it looks a ‘hell of a lot’ better than a plaster cast!
To conclude this quick report, the future looks exciting again with this latest development. Lets hope this one can materialise and advance the way we treat broken bones. This is another great way that 3d printing is innovating how we treat everyday medical issues.
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