3D Printed Lightweight And Comfortable Casts To Heal Fractured Bones


3D Printed Lightweight And Comfortable Casts To Heal Fractured Bones - zdravprint
3D printed cast by Zdravprint
Anyone who has ever worn a cast know that it can be a horrible experience. Not only is it heavy and difficult to maneuver, but over time it will itch, and the buildup of bacteria can cause an unpleasant smell. To avoid this, most casts need to stay dry, meaning that showering and other activities become unnecessarily difficult.
 
Fyodor Aptekarev is more than familiar with fractures, being a veteran skateboarder he has broken his fair share of bones. Together with Aleksandr Charkassov he founded Zdravprint, or Healthprint, to overcome some of the issues associated with traditional casts by 3D printing casts and splints. Inspired by a 3D printed dress designed by Francis Bitonti and worn by the famous burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, the casts are both waterproof and breathable. They not only promise to avoid itchiness, but to heal fractured bones faster, more comfortably and hygienically than traditional casts.
 
3D printed dress - Dita von Teese - Francis Bitonti
Dita Von Teese in the 3D printed dress
designed by Francis Bitonti.
The patient’s injury is first scanned three-dimensionally before a computer make a CAD model of the cast. The model is then printed using a durable bio-plastic filament, which can be in any color and easily heated and smoothed for a perfect fit. The final product is waterproof and aerated, allowing the skin underneath to breathe and be washed regularly, making the 3D printed cast both lightweight and comfortable.
 
Unfortunately, a plaster cast is still needed in the first stages of repairing a break as it enables doctors to control and adjust the initial bone union. This lasts for about a week before the 3D printed version can take its place. The printing of the new cast takes about 12 hours, and the subsequent fitting can be completed in less than an hour.
 
Aptekarev is confident in their technology and predicts that the 3D printed casts will be the norm in the medical industry within the next seven years. Earlier this year the startup received $100,000 from the venture fund Maxfield Capital to further develop their casts.