Could 3D printing replace plaster casts?

Mexican inventors have created a prototype medical cast using 3D printing, that they believe could potentially end the need for cumbersome plaster casts.
(Photo: credit Mediprint)
05/08/2016
16:16
Reuters
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There's a new 3-D printed cast on the block, which means your days may be numbered.

The NovaCast was created by Mexican start-up Mediprint and uses an open, 3D-printed, plastic framework.

Each 3D-printed cast is custom-made to the exact measurements of the fractured part of the body, which developers say improves recovery time.

"It's lighter than the traditional cast. You can have a bath with it, you can scratch yourself, it allows for a better medical inspection." co-founder of  Mediprint, Zaid Musa Badwan Peralta said. 

The cast is printed after the patient's body part is scanned. From there, the total time until a tailor made cast is ready - three hours.

Developers say they're working on an improved way to measure patients that will increase comfort by eliminating the need to scan the traumatized body part.

"It's a specialised software, which through anthropometry measurements gives the medic exact details about the shape and size needs. And using information on 3-D models of the patient, the geometry of the cast is automatically calucalated for the printers. This generates a product that can reach more people." the co-founder added. 

Nova cast creators also expect to improve the production process and decrease printing time.

No details on price and release of the casts onto the market yet, but creators hope that it isn't long before the plaster cast is a thing of the past.

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