Anyone who has ever broken a limb knows the difficulties that occur when wearing a cast.
While necessary, the bulky plaster casts aren’t very patient friendly and can be a pain to wear. Casts are hot, uncomfortable, and not exactly waterproof. But with 3D printing technology, and the efforts of Deniz Karasahin, it may soon be possible to wear a “patient friendly” cast that is more comfortable, ventilated, and perhaps best of all –waterproof.
The 3D printed cast concept designed by Deniz Karasahin is known as the Osteoid Medical cast. While a 3D printed cast isn’t a new idea, Karasahin’s idea includes a cool feature that makes it unique. His design is said to reduce the healing time by up to 38 percent and increase the healing rate up to 80 percent in non-union fractures.
The concept involves using 3D scans of a patient’s fracture to create a 3D model of the cast that is designed to fit the limb perfectly. Later, ventilation holes are added to the design. The ventilation holes allow ventilation as well as allowing a device known as a “low intensity pulse ultrasound” (LIPUS) bone simulator system to be placed directly on the skin over the injury to aid healing.
The cast itself is made from two pieces which can be assembled in a similar fashion of a puzzle, with a thin layer of rubber helping the pieces fit together with the LIPUS probes.
The 3D printed cast is said to be durable, lightweight, custom fitting, removable, as well as environmentally friendly. It also looks cool. The cast also recently won the A’Design Award in the 3D Printed Forms and Products Design category.
While the cast is still in the process of being designed, considering just how far the medical field has advanced thanks to 3D printing, the idea is not that far off base. It may be just a short amount of time until we start seeing casts similar to this one becoming more commonplace.