Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

3-D printed wrist splints for arthritis sufferers

Date:
July 1, 2014
Source:
University of Loughborough
Summary:
A computer software concept has been developed that will enable clinicians with no experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. The 3D printed splints are not only more comfortable and attractive but potentially cheaper than the current ones that are 'ugly, bulky, and can make a patients arm sweat'.

A Loughborough University lecturer has developed a computer software concept that will enable clinicians with no experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Loughborough

A Loughborough University lecturer has developed a computer software concept that will enable clinicians with no experience in Computer Aided Design (CAD) to design and make custom-made 3D printed wrist splints for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

Dr Abby Paterson, from the Design School, said: "I wanted to give clinicians the ability to make splints they have not been able to make before. They can improve the aesthetics, the fit, and integrate extra bits of functionality they couldn't do before as a result of our Additive Manufacturing facilities here at Loughborough University. Thanks to our Objet Connex machine, we can integrate multiple materials in a single splint such as rubber-like integral hinges or cushioning features but, more importantly, the specialised software prototype we've developed will enable clinicians to design these splints for their patients."

The 3D printed splints are not only more comfortable and attractive but potentially cheaper than the current ones that are 'ugly, bulky, and can make a patients arm sweat'. As a result patients do not use them as often as they should.

The splints, which provide joint protection, rest, and promote pain relief,could be a major boost for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common type of arthritis in the UK which affects more than 400,000 people.

The splints are made by scanning a patient's arm in the 'appropriate position'. A 3D model splint is then designed based on the scan to generate a computer model.

The 3D printer can then produce as many splints as are needed at the touch of a button. They can be any colour, feature multiple materials, have a lattice design to aid ventilation and any type of fastening the patient requires.

The 3D CAD software prototype was shown to certified splinting practitioners, such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

Dr Paterson said: "The practitioners were very excited by new, novel ideas to expand the possibilities available to them, such as integrated rubber borders for increased comfort."

The 3D CAD software prototype is the product of Dr Paterson's PhD and development ‎work is still needed on the software and materials. ‎

Dr Paterson was supervised during her PhD by Dr Richard Bibb and Dr Ian Campbell. Dr Bibb came up with the idea for bespoke wrist splints in the late 1990's.

Dr Bibb and Dr Paterson are currently pursuing opportunities to perform a 'thorough cost analysis' of providing the service.

Dr Bibb says the 3D splints could be cheaper than the current ones because the design and manufacture stages have been separated. He believes they will be cost-effective for the NHS while the 'sky's the limit' in the private sector.

Dr Bibb, Reader in Medical Applications of Design in the Design School, said: "We are in the development phase. The research has proved that this is desirable and the clinicians want it. We know there's lots of potential."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Loughborough. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Loughborough. "3-D printed wrist splints for arthritis sufferers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701085330.htm>.
University of Loughborough. (2014, July 1). 3-D printed wrist splints for arthritis sufferers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701085330.htm
University of Loughborough. "3-D printed wrist splints for arthritis sufferers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140701085330.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins