Students Create New AFO? Why does it look like it is from the 60’s?

Any comments?  I am still trying to process the article.  Too many misleading statements.  Where do we begin

1. “Additive manufacturing can change the face of prosthetic and orthotic medicine because both are stuck in the relative dark ages when it comes to fitting and producing new ones. It’s a time-consuming and expensive process that often requires multiple fittings.”

-Multiple fittings? Dark Ages?

2. “Making an AFO is a complex process, though, and it takes a number of fittings. That includes scanning, molding, vacuum heat forming and fitting. It can take up to a month and costs as much as $2000.”

-Take up to a month? Is 3D printing not a complex process?  What happens when you are 18 hours into your print and there is a glitch?

3. “Removing the excessive fittings were one of the main goals and it achieved this with a 3D scanner to create a millimeter precise model of the patient’s leg and foot. Simply put, if the first model is right then the first fitting is the only fitting.”

-One fitting?  Wow!  Anyone that has worked with the human body knows that this is a stretch.

4. “After weighing up the options, the students came back with good news and reported that PLA and PETG offer the best overall solution for an AFO.”

-Really?  Did you look at the fatigue cycles?  How many steps do patients walk in one year? So remind me, how long will the AFO last?

5. “The team of students managed to cut the fitting time from four weeks to just two days with rapid prototyping. They also slashed the costs and the experiment has been hailed as a massive success.”

-Four weeks? Did the 3D printer do the paperwork, check insurance, get authorization?


3D Printing is amazing technology.  I am a fan of technology and it will play a part in the field of orthotics and prosthetics.  The problem with this article is that the Nick Hall really did not do much research on the industry and was not honest with those who read it.



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