Lead Forensics

3D Scanners Help Create Customised Prosthetic Fittings

Sep 12, 2023 | 3D Scanning, Medical Technology, News, Research & Development

In the world of prosthetic fittings, traditional plaster casting has long been the go-to method for taking measurements and creating devices for patients.

This process involves manually measuring partial limbs, applying uncomfortable layers of plaster, and patiently waiting for them to dry. Unfortunately, in many cases, these painstakingly crafted plaster casts are not retained, resulting in the loss of valuable measurements that could prove useful in the future.

However, there’s a game-changing solution on the horizon: 3D scanning technology. When combined with cutting-edge AI software, it promises to revolutionise the world of prosthetic customisation, making it less invasive and more efficient for both patients and clinicians.

Recent research conducted by the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences in Belgium, in collaboration with Orthobroker, a company specialising in patient-specific orthoses crafted using 3D printing technology, sheds light on these transformative possibilities.

Based in Geel, Belgium, the University’s Mobilab & Care lab team is looking to enhance the quality of life for individuals requiring care or support. They have been researching the dynamics between orthopaedics and patients to uncover innovative approaches to crafting better-tailored prosthetic devices.

Leveraging advanced technologies such as 3D scanning and 3D printing, this dedicated team has digitised the process of customising prosthetics, sockets, and limbs. This new approach allows for greater ease of design and significantly expedites the manufacturing process.

One advantage of using 3D scanning for precise measurements is that it eliminates the need for any physical contact with the patient. This contact-free method is a welcome departure from the messy and uncomfortable traditional casting process, offering a more pleasant experience for the patient.

The collaboration between the Mobilab & Care team and Orthobroker has led to the development of a predictive model for designing lower limb prosthetics. Notably, since many of the necessary adjustments are similar across a broad range of patients, the team’s AI algorithm has demonstrated the capability to predict and implement these changes automatically.

The researchers began by accurately capturing the body structures of a diverse group of amputees and subsequently exporting the resulting 3D meshes into CAD software. These models were then used to train their predictive prosthesis customisation model.

While the algorithm is still in development, the ultimate goal is to integrate it into a platform that can accelerate the design of prosthetic sockets, streamlining the entire process.

As Orthobroker continues to refine this AI-led predictive model, the Mobilab & Care team remains committed to its mission of improving the lives of amputees worldwide. They firmly believe that 3D scanning technology will play a pivotal role in achieving this goal, provided that the devices are fast, accurate, and easily accessible to clinicians.

Looking ahead, they see 3D scanners as having strong potential as indispensable tools for prosthetic customisation, offering unparalleled speed and accuracy compared to the devices currently in use by clinicians.

See the full story at all3dp.com

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The PES Scanning blog provides information and news on the scanning and engineering services we offer. The blog also includes views from our team and information about projects we’ve been working on.