Old-fashioned casts are nasty, a festering stinksleeves that you wear like a medieval torture device for what seems like forever.3D-printed casts take care of the smell and itch issues, and now Deniz Karasahin has designed the next step: a custom cast with an ultrasound device to speed up bone healing.
Karasahin’s Osteoid is, obviously, just a design concept, winner of the 2014 Golden A’Design Award in the 3D-printed forms and product design category. But it’s based on sound science: low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) has been found to reduce bone healing time by nearly 40% with just one 20-minute treatment a day. The therapy has been tricky to administer, because it requires placing ultrasound leads on the skin directly over the bone injury. That’s impossible with an old-school plaster cast—but
not with a 3D printed cast of the future.
In order for the cast to fit perfectly on the patient’s limb, the area with the broken bone is scanned via a 3D body scanner. The data is transferred to modeling software and then an additional locking mechanism and algorithmically generated ventilation holes are added to the final CAD data along with LIPUS probe adapters.
The final product-the Osteoid medical cast-is made from two pieces that can be fixed together like a jigsaw puzzle. A central hole passes through the edges of these pieces, where a flexible pin is inserted to tightly connect them.