Automated 3D-printed finger orthosis versus manual orthosis preparation by occupational therapy students: Preparation time, product weight, and user satisfaction

Sigal Portnoy*, Nina Barmin, Maayan Elimelech, Balsam Assaly, Simma Oren, Reem Shanan, Yafa Levanon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Study design: Intra-subject cross-sectional study. Introduction: Upper limb injuries often require wearing an orthosis. Today, orthoses are custom-made by the clinician or purchased as an off-shelf product. Although 3D printing is a popular solution, the design and adjustment of an orthosis model according to patient-specific anatomy requires technical expertise, often unavailable to the clinicians. Purpose of the study: (1) To create a software that receives input of anatomic dimensions of the finger and automatically adjusts an orthosis model for patient-specific 3D printing and (2) to compare preparation time, product weight, and user satisfaction of occupational therapy students between the manual method and the automatic 3D printing method. Methods: A custom code allows the user to measure five anatomic measurements of the finger. The code adjusts a swan-neck orthosis model according to the patient-specific measurements, and a fitted resized 3D-printable file is produced. We recruited 36 occupational therapy students (age 25.4 ± 1.9 years). They prepared two swan-neck orthoses for a finger of a rubber mannequin: one manually using a thermoplastic material and the other by 3D printing. The preparation time and orthosis weight were measured, and the subjects filled out a user satisfaction questionnaire. Results: The weight of the 3D-printed orthosis was significantly lower than that of the manual orthosis; however, the preparation time was longer. The subjects were more satisfied with the fit, esthetics, overall process, and product of the 3D-printed orthosis. Conclusion: The creation of an automated software for the patient-specific adjustment of orthoses for 3D printing can be the missing link for integration of 3D printing in the clinics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-179
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Therapy
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • 3D printing
  • Occupational therapy
  • Swan-neck deformity

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