It is evident there is a lot of progress being made in the medical sector these days. New vaccines are created on a regular basis, and we have become better at healing injuries. A new type of 3D-printed cast can successfully heal broken bones up to 40% faster. This progress has been made possible by using ultrasonic vibrations.
Ultrasound Makes Bones Heal Faster
As unusual as the concept may sound, Turkish student Deniz Karasahin may have cracked the code to allow humans to heal faster. To be more specific, his recent breakthrough is capable of healing broken bones up to 40% faster than they do right now. That is an impressive improvement, especially when considering how this is achieved.
He actually 3D printed a cast that is capable of healing a broken arm or leg. However, every cast emits tiny ultrasonic vibrations to decrease the amount of time required to heal bones back to normal. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound has proven to have bone healing capabilities, as scientists are aware of this fact for several decades. For some reason, no one put it into practice on a large scale, until now.
That is not entirely surprising either, as the treatment requires ultrasound leads to be placed on the patient’s skin. Not everyone in the world will be open to this idea in the first place, and very few doctors seem to lean towards deploying this method. With the introduction of consumer-grade 3D printing tools, the process has been simplified by quite a margin.
Traditional plaster casts can, in theory, be equipped with these ultrasound leads as well, yet it has proven to be an inconvenient solution. By using a custom 3D-printed cast, the process becomes all but a breeze. Especially this particular type of cast, as it leaves patches of skin open to “breathe” and retrofit with ultrasound leads as necessary. In fact, these casts allow for the ultrasonic drivers to be built in directly by default.
For the time being, these 3D-printed casts are nothing but a mere prototype. However, the concept has gotten a lot of attention over the past few days, as many people see the benefits of using this solution. Moreover, considering how 3D scanning and printing is an industry where a lot of progress is made every week, it won’t take all that long until these custom casts become available to the masses.
This once again goes to show how old and new technologies can be combined into powerful new solutions for the medical sector. Low-intensity pulsed ultrasound combined with 3D printing will lead to exciting results moving forward. It will be interesting to see what other types of creative solutions will come to fruition when it comes to 3D printing.
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