3D printing has become an indispensable tool in the medical industry. It has encompassed numerous applications from creating simple customized medical tools, surgical models, implants, to orthopedic casts.
This technology continues to expand as researchers develop many intriguing yet effective devices using a simple 3D printer. One such innovation introduced to the world recently was the 3D printed braces intended for patients with scoliosis.
3D Systems, the South Carolina-based company, released their prototype for back braces to correct the abnormal curvature of the spine among patients with severe scoliosis. The braces are customized to fit the shape of the patient’s body. The braces also have corrective features so that patients can be comfortable but experience improvement while wearing the braces.
This technology was adopted by Chinese medical researchers from the National Rehabilitation Aids Research in Beijing to treat patients suffering from mild to moderate scoliosis. The Chinese researchers worked with orthopedic surgeons from Germany led by Dr. Hans-Rudolf Weiss. Conventional braces are very difficult to wear as they are chunky and provide a lot of discomfort to patients. Moreover, it is also embarrassing for most people to wear conventional braces because they look like alien contraptions stuck in their bodies.
The researchers developed customizable braces that slimly fit the body of patients and it comes with a lot of patterns to improve the air flow thus decreasing discomfort and build up of heat. The new braces are made from thermoplastics thus they are very light but strong enough to support and re-align the problematic back. This innovation will surely help a lot of patients suffering from scoliosis all over the world.