The market for 3D printing in the medical industry is expanding and the creation of external medical devices, such as hearing aids, dental prostheses and prostheses for replacing amputated limbs are emerging as the most popular applications for the technology.
ActivArmor, an American company, has arrived on the scene, offering a new generation of casts, manufactured using 3D printing technology, which could offer many advantages compared to conventional plaster casts. First of all, these ABS casts are custom-made, and are "mapped on the contours of the limb requiring stabilisation and support".
Because it is made from plastic, it is waterproof, light and allows the skin to breathe, it also provides patient swith great freedom of movement, enabling them to go about their business almost "normally". It also enables the doctor or surgeon placing the cast to immobilise or protect the affected areas with a high degree of precision. Finally, it can be movable, depending on the various trauma treated.
At present, this new generation of casts is used for fractures of the thumb and peripheral nerve injuries, and fractures or sprains of the wrist and elbow.