3D printing’s impact is not limited to improving workflows or enabling rapid prototyping. It can also change lives directly. With 30 million people worldwide in need of artificial limbs and braces, there is hope that 3D printing can provide new solutions where cost and specification have traditionally been hurdles.
There is a global shortage of prosthetics relative to demand, and the time and financial cost required to acquire needed prosthetics can prove prohibitive, especially given the degree of customization involved and the high need for prosthetic supplies in, for example, developing countries. Prostheses and braces not built to specification can end up giving discomfort those they should be assisting and empowering.
3D printing can provide an affordable alternative that, like many related advances in medicine, can provide therapy that is much more closely tailored to a patient’s needs. The affordability and customizability of 3D printing techniques can profoundly alter the quality of life for the better for those suffering from injury or disability, as we saw in this story of a father and son.
Orthoses can be uniquely tailored to the needs of each patient with 3D printing.
Information contained within this page originally appeared on Formlabs.com