St Luke’s University Health Network is set to become the first organisation in Pennsylvania, US, to offer 3D-printed, plastic orthopaedic casts for immobilising injured limbs.

The casts – which are made by Colorado-based medical device firm ActivArmor – can be custom-made to suit individual anatomies, and offer other practical benefits compared to traditional fiberglass or plaster alternatives.

Having been impressed with their construction and benefits for patients, St Luke’s board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Dr Kristofer Matullo will debut ActivArmor’s products in Pennsylvania this month.

“This device is really going to improve patient comfort, convenience and quality of life,” said Dr Matullo – who specialises in hand and wrist disorders.

“It is lighter in weight, easier to maintain and offers the wearer the convenience of being able to scratch an itch through the lattice-like openings in the cast.”

According to a statement provided by St Luke’s, Dr Matullo believes ActivArmor’s casts will be “ideal” for adults and most children.


ActivArmor 3D-printed orthopaedic casts

ActivArmor’s innovative casts offer several benefits when compared to more traditional orthopaedic products for protecting and supporting recovering arms, wrists, hands, and lower limbs.

They are made using a three-dimensional scan of the broken or injured body part, which is then sent to ActivArmor.

Using proprietary software, the Colorado-based company prints two “clamshell-like” halves of the cast, which are fitted onto the patient’s affected body part – and can either be locked on like a cast, or removed like a splint to allow swelling in the area to subside.

The lattice-like spaces in the ActivArmor cast’s design mean wound care, treatment with advanced healing technologies, cleaning of the skin or sanitation of the device to remove pathogens can all be done while the cast is being worn.

And, because it is made of a durable, recyclable plastic material, it’s not a problem if the 3D cast gets wet, meaning it doesn’t prevent the user engaging in sports and other activities.

ActivArmor – which was founded in 2014 – has also gained FDA approval and ISO-10993 certification to demonstrate that its cast is 100% biocompatible, and safe to use.