Orthosis Material Properties Research   

Hackensack University Medical Center Researchers Test 3D-Printed Splint Materials

Study validates 3D-printed orthopedic splints as comparable alternative to fiberglass or plaster splints

Orthosis Material Properties

With growing interest in 3D-printed splints as an alternative to conventional plaster and fiberglass options for orthopedic applications, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center experts recently participated in a study confirming the comparable material properties of 3D splints made with polylactic acid (PLA).

This study, published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, found that PLA-based three-dimensional printed splints demonstrated more stability in cyclic compressive loading than fiberglass and plaster. Daniel Seigerman, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and hand and wrist expert at Hackensack University Medical Center, was one of the authors of the paper.

The results confirm that 3D-printed splints are not inferior to fiberglass or plaster splints. In fact, in tests the fiberglass and plaster splints failed at higher compression forces than the plastic alternative. PLA was the sole material to withstand multiple cycles within the test force ranges without yielding or deforming.

Customized 3D-printed immobilization options offer advantages over traditional orthopedic splints, including better patient comfort, cleanliness and avoidance of skin issues while providing effective immobilization. The 3D-printed casts minimize direct physician–patient contact time—an important pandemic consideration—and the water-resistant material allows for basic handwashing and hygiene practices.

Learn more about innovative orthopedic care at Hackensack University Medical Center.

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