China developing 3D-Printed Back Braces
China is on a roll this month, with 3D-printed hip implants making the news last week, this week there are 3D-printed back braces in the spotlight. This is yet another excellent medical application that 3D-printing lends itself to in order to meet the growing expectations people have about healthcare.
The Chinese are looking into using the braces to treat conditions such as mild to moderate scoliosis. Ordinary back braces are clunky, uncomfortable and don’t allow air to circulate- problems that are overcome with a custom brace. The brace can be designed with minimal extrusion, allowing it to fit under the patients clothes, and can have intricate patterns built in to improve airflow which reduces the buildup of heat, as well as making the brace lighter.
The braces need to be light, but also strong enough to support the realignment of the patient’s back. Dr Hans-Rudolph Weiss, an orthopedic surgeon from Germany has been working with the researchers at the National Rehabilitation Aid Research Centre in Beijing and is continuing to develop the braces, working on making them more robust, lighter and less noticeable. Hopefully his efforts will help further the growing potential in 3D-printing for medical uses, and help make the lives of thousands of people easier.