photo credit: A’ Design Awards
A cutting edge prototype method combines 3D Printing and Ultrasound pulses to manufacture a cast that not only looks stylish and comfortable to wear but also speeds healing relative to existing options.
The master behind the work is Denis Karasahin. He has adopted the idea of using Low Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound (LIPUS) to increase the speed of bone regrowth. Pulses of sound waves have shown to improve the incorporation of calcium ions in cartilage and bone cells. It also increase the expression of genes that assist healing.
In spite of promising results if LIPUS, it had not yet been widely adopted because of variations in the measured benefits across trials, which sometimes appeared to be too little to justify the effort required. It involved a daily session in the medical clinic. But Deniz Karasahin with his portal ultrasound technology attached to the cast improved the healing rate by 80% in non union fractures.
Using LIPUS with a conventional plaster is tricky because probes have to be attached directly to the skin. The Cortex exoskeletal cast eliminates this problem. It is light weight, allows air to ventilate and the owner to itch the affected limb. This also provided plenty of opportunity for LIPUS probes to access the skin.
Costs are still not known and the price will continue to drop as 3D Printing becomes widespread.