A groundbreaking, 3D printed cast prototype is touted to heal bone injuries faster and has a modern design that allows fresh air to ventilate the skin while the cast is in place. This innovative creation is called ?Osteoid? cast and is the brainchild of Turkish industrial designer Deniz Karasahin.
Karasahin came up with the idea to incorporate low-intensity, pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) to a customized, lattice-patterned cast made by a 3D printer. The process of using LIPUS to speed up bone regrowth involves sending pulses of ultrasound waves around the injured area in frequencies that are too high to hear. This activity has been shown to improve the integration of calcium ions in bone cells and cartilage cultures.
The designer claims that for a single 20-minute session every day, the 3D printed cast will be able to cut down approximately 38% from the duration of the bone?s healing process. It is also said to deliver up to 80% increase in the healing rate of non-union fractures, in which case bones have not shown improvement in three to six months.
The Osteoid cast is able to deliver LIPUS via a portable ultrasound generator (pictured below) that can be attached to the cast. The new medical device will be made out of environment-friendly materials, in accordance with recent trends of environmental awareness activities, and will also be water proof. Since it is made by a 3D printer, it might be relatively cheaper and will fit patients perfectly without the added weight of conventional casts and the usual complaints of itching and bad odor.
The idea of utilizing ultrasound waves in fracture treatments is not new, however, and studies conducted to prove its efficacy delivered varying results. Hence, it is not yet fully embraced by the medical community. The application of LIPUS in the Osteoid cast may be based upon a clinical study conducted in previous years with promising results but have different results across clinical trials.
The Osteoid cast is still in its ?infancy? stage and will obviously benefit more if reinforced with further research and trials. Nevertheless, the idea behind this 3D printed cast is very promising and has the potential to significantly change orthopedic surgery practices.
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