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3D-printed cast concept uses ultrasound to heal broken bones

3D-printed cast concept uses ultrasound to heal broken bones

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Last year, Victoria University of Wellington graduate Jake Evill created the Cortex cast, a concept that sought to potentially replace traditional plaster casts while also offering the added benefit of being lightweight and odor-free. Now, the Osteoid cast, a new concept designed by Deniz Karasahin, takes things a step further by adding an ultrasound device meant to speed up the healing process.

Improve healing by 80 percent

The Osteoid, which won this year's Design Award for 3D printed forms and products, is inspired by the spongy material that forms inside bones. Karasahin's team writes that the lightweight concept would be tailor-made for patients in need, and can be designed with specific colors in mind. Most important, thought, is its complimentary ultrasound system. Low intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS ) systems have already been found to promote bone fracture healing and can reportedly increase healing rate in non-union break by 80 percent.

The next step for this design is to create a locking mechanism for the cast that protects the limb and cast itself in as effective a way as possible. Given that this is just a concept, Karasahin's team has time. But this being an attractive new way to rethink the plaster cast means we may not be far off from seeing this in real life.