It is increasingly clear that additive manufacturing has a central role to play in the medical sector . This is largely due to the ability to create and customize solutions to suit each individual. From bio-printing projects for tissue development to medical devices such as implants, prosthesesor 3D printed orthoses.
The latter, unlike 3D printed prostheses, function as medical supports that help modify and restore functional aspects of the neuromusculoskeletal system. Thus, orthoses are able to stabilize, relieve, immobilize, guide or correct a damaged part of the body. Since the morphology of each patient is different, the use of 3D printing is ideal to design these unique devices adapted to each one. That's why, on this occasion, we wanted to compile some of the most outstanding orthotic projects to date.
Xkelet scans and 3D prints orthoses
The Spanish company Xkelet has developed a system capable of scanning and manufacturing orthoses adapted to the morphology and needs of each patient. These allow the immobilization of the upper and lower limbs to solve the problems of traditional systems such as plaster, fiberglass, thermoplastics and orthopedic products. Specifically, they have a mobile phone app that allows them to get data and 3D scan the orthosis design in seconds.
Then, through their partnership with Photocentric, they can use resin 3D printing to create custom orthotics on demand. This results in a unique piece that is much lighter than traditional plaster options.
Pohlig and his 3D printed orthoses
Pohlig is a manufacturer of orthoses for different parts of the body. Whether for a hand, a leg or even for the chest, the company has a wide choice for its customers. Additionally, Pohlig created the SimBrace technology.
This innovation is a 3D scanning process developed for patients. It adjusts the shape and position of the orthosis according to the patient's morphology. The part is then 3D printed with FDM technology for prototypes, while the final products will benefit from the SLS process . Once the part has been placed, the company supports the patient to improve his adaptation with the orthosis, more particularly for the legs.
OT4 OT4 Orthopädietechnik is a German company that is part of the Streifeneder group. It specializes in the manufacture of orthoses adapted to the patient. Each component is designed using modern tools, including Multi Jet Fusion technology. This printing process makes it possible to manufacture custom products and facilitate modifications.
OT4 Orthopädietechnik designs devices for different parts of the body: the face, the head, the arms or the joints. The technology used offers advantages in terms of weight, quality and reproducibility. With its partner craft companies, the company combines the strengths of craftsmanship and those of digital manufacturing to create reliable products. Finally, OT4 Orthopädietechnik offers colored orthoses,
Custom-made orthoses with Chabloz Orthopédie
Chabloz Orthopédie is a French company specializing in the design and production of custom orthoses for the upper and lower limbs. Among the 3D printed parts, it manufactures helmets to fight against plagiocephaly, a deformation of the skull in infants.
In addition, with regard to the lower limbs, Chabloz Orthopédie differentiates between two types of orthoses, those for posture and those for walking. The first makes it possible to compensate for an incapacity of the lower limb, while the second can intervene in addition to the walking apparatus to improve the fluidity of the joints. In fact, the company uses HP Multi Jet Fusion printers to speed up manufacturing processes.
3D printed insoles from PODO 3D
ScientiFeet is a French solution, created in January 2016 by PODO 3D, a subsidiary of the Prodways group, a French 3D printing company. The company is one of the leaders in the production of 3D printed soles. Their solution is intended for practitioners to provide a personalized and unique product to patients. Thanks to their 3D scanner, they are able to create a very precise and personalized 3D impression that offers a high degree of precision and completely new production possibilities at a better cost.
The process takes place in just 4 steps: first, the podiatrist takes a scan of the foot using the Podoclic 3D scanner. Then he models the scan on Scientifeet software, which is then used to design 3D soles. These insoles are designed according to the size, thickness and height of the arch of the foot. They are sent to the Prodways printer fleet, who print them in PA12; the finished product is delivered to the practitioner's office in just 5 days. Additionally, the Scientifeet solution can also be installed in practitioners' offices to provide expert advice and equipment training.
Invent Medical, custom orthopedic and prosthetic products
Invent Medicalis a British company that launched into 3D printing in 2010 in order to offer solutions in the field of orthoses and prostheses. It cooperates with doctors, clinicians and universities to offer durable and reliable solutions. They offer cranial reshaping helmets, ankle-foot braces, prosthetic bases, insoles and face masks, and future plans will include arm and adult products. Uses for these products include sports injuries, limb prostheses and the treatment of abnormalities.
Their Invent Medical Configurator is an easy-to-use software tool that helps you design your orthosis or prosthesis in minutes. Then, using 3D and 2D scanners, they make sure the product fits the patient perfectly before sending the data to an HP industrial printer for 3D printing. Their products are comfortable, aesthetic and personalized for each model.
Korthotics, 3D printed orthoses from Australia
Korthotics is a Sydney-based orthopedic solutions provider with over 40 years of experience in the manufacture and delivery of custom orthotics. The company offers a range of products manufactured using its 3D Systems ProX SLS 6100 printer, an industrial SLS printer. His favorite material is nylon-11. The latter is absorbent, strong and lightweight, allowing them to create high quality products with minimal waste.
These products include custom orthotics, including foot orthoses, skull caps and knee braces. All of these products are manufactured in their factory. They include custom-made orthoses, including foot orthoses, skull caps and knee braces. All of these products are manufactured in their Sydney factory. Apart from 3D printing,
The Berlin company Think3DDD, founded by Tino Jacobi and Leonardo Lauer, focuses on the manufacture of orthoses for animals, but also that of orthoses for humans. With their 3D printed solution, which goes by the name of Orthimale, the team at Think3DDD mainly wanted to tackle problems such as heavy plaster, itching and annoying seams.
The manufacture is done as follows: After having scanned in 3D, using a smartphone, the part of the body for which the orthosis is intended, this is created in collaboration with the attending physician, checked and 3D printed using the FFF process. Once the treatment is complete, the Think3DDD Orthosis is recycled or even composted, so there is no additional impact on the environment.
With Dr. Pablo Marin, podiatrist specializing in mechanics and also CEO of Wypro, the company has focused since its creation in 2019 on the manufacture of orthopedic insoles. To do this, Wypro uses a 3D laser scanner that they developed in 2017 for the podiatry and orthopedics sector.
The advantages that the Spanish company sees in this are on the one hand speed and precision, but on the other hand also the fact that the professional can correct the foot before the scan and place it in an optimal position. Once the 3D scan has been made, it is then printed for the orthopedic insole using the SLS process.
ActivArmor offers waterproof and 3D printed casts and splints
One of the most common orthoses we see around the world are of course casts and splints. For anyone who has broken a bone, those heavy and inconvenient casts can be a real burden while healing. Fortunately, they are not the only option.
The American company ActivArmor offers 3D printed plastic casts that are waterproof, breathable and hygienic, which allow users to maintain their active lifestyle while remaining safe. Currently, ActivArmor is not only the only commercially available 3D printed custom splint in the United States, it is FDA listed as a Class 1 splint and ISO-10993 certified for biocompatibility.
A back brace for scoliosis
Who among us has not heard of scoliosis? This lateral curvature of the spine is often diagnosed in children or adolescents and can be debilitating if not treated properly before growth. Indeed, it is estimated to affect approximately 2-3% of the world's population, including 6-9 million people in the United States alone.
But the treatment often consists of an uncomfortable and expensive orthopedic corset. Fortunately, 3D printing might offer a better solution. Lelio Leoncini, in collaboration with the Italian 3D printing company WASP, has created 3D printed corsets, made of polypropylene, which can provide solutions even for serious cases, such as patients who need a bust of complex shape or support for the head in addition to the bust.