Thursday, September 5, 2013

3D Printing to Change How We Fix Broken Bones

3D Printing to Change How We Fix Broken Bones

Many of us have gone through the nightmare of breaking a bone. First you suffer the pain of the bone breaking, then you suffer the pain of having the bone set... whew! Next your broken appendage is wrapped in a plaster cast, and you face several weeks of wearing this heavy, smelly, and sweaty cast.

Enter 3D printers. 3D printed casts are much more comfortable and lightweight. This seems like an excellent advance.

Using 3D printing will change how we fix broken bones. This is really revolutionary. So far it appears that the most major drawback to this new technology is that we're not going to be able to sign the victim's cast. <grin>

For the most part, 3D printing seems to have several advantages:

"The 3D casts are meant to be much more comfortable and easy to wear. Currently, the casts made of plaster are often uncomfortable, heavy, and get ruined if they get wet. A 3D printable cast would change all of that. Not only would it be able to get wet, but it would also be much more lightweight and comfortable.

The process involved in getting a 3D printed cast would be very similar to the process we currently have to go through to get a plaster cast. The patient is first x-rayed in order to determine exactly where the break is. The limb is then 3D scanned in order for the cast to be moulded to the particular shape of the patients limb. The software behind the system then creates a cast that is specifically designed to support the location of the break.

The cast that is created both protects your limb and creates an environment for the bones to heal, but it also allows for your skin to breath. You can also take a shower without having to worry about damaging the cast."

3D Printing to Change How We Fix Broken Bones. Not only will the 3D casts be lighter and more comfortable, but you will also be able to wear clothes over them, AND they are recyclable.

Here's the full story: 3D Printing to Change How We Fix Broken Bones

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