Holey, 3D printed orthopedics

By August 3, 2018technology

3D printing is changing orthopedics.

Statistically one in two Italians, over the course of their lives, suffers a bone fracture. Many of you know how cumbersome a cast can be. Today, with 3D printing, there are alternatives to the traditional plaster we’re accustomed to.

Holey, a Lazio Innova spin-off, developed a solution that can produce custom-made 3D printable orthopedic braces that can replace traditional casts or standard-size commercial braces.

A three-dimensional scanner captures patient measurements if the affected area and a software automatically creates the virtual model, which will then be fabricated using the printer.

The benefits of having a custom brace can be significant, Holey CEO and co-founder Gabriel Scozzarro explains, “we reduce the risk of complications from a medical point of view, such as skin irritations or compartment syndrome. The brace exerts a uniform pressure on the whole limb, avoiding non-homogeneous pressure applied for long periods which blocks the normal flow of blood. The braces are non-invasive, very lightweight and completely water resistant as they are made from a plastic material, so not only can you continue all daily activities as if nothing had happened, you can even shower and swim.”

The scan is almost immediate, taking only 30 seconds, afterwards the printing process takes two hours, while the time needed for a plaster cast is about one hour. The technology for 3D printing is constantly improving, soon Holey’s process will be just as fast. Meanwhile, the price is already competitive with the traditional method, a wrist brace costing about 10 euros and a cast between 8-12 euros.