The printed ultrasound cast
In case there are still doubters around, this story should help convince them of the huge range of applications that 3D printing has. A plaster cast that’s 3D printed is one thing, as it is lighter, more efficient and made to measure for your arm.
A new cast adds ultrasound to the mix. Pulsating ultrasound – short burst of very high-frequency sound – to affected areas has been shown to improve bone repair. So this cast is beneficial to healing in more ways than one.
Called the Osteoid cast by its designer, Deniz Karasahin, the 3D printed healing cast won the A’ Design Award. It improves on standard casts not only by being shaped to suit the wearer, but also by being constructed as a snap-lock design, so that it can be removed if necessary.
The polymer cast is fitted with a central hole which passes through the edges of the pieces. A flexible metal pin connect the pieces, which have algorithmically designed holes for weight reduction and ventilation.
Better yet, the cast is waterproof, which is a relief for anyone who has had to skip showers while nursing a broken arm.
The ultrasound is a big advantage. In some cases, such treatment can help heal bone up to 80% faster than without, a huge increase. The snap-tight case leaves spaces for the ultrasound unit’s wiring and for the metallic probes themselves, which are also designed to fit into the cast’s openings. A thin rubber layer helps keep the ultrasound probes fixed in place.