Comparison of 3D Printing and Traditional Hand Orthosis Fabrication

  •  John Damiao    
  •  Natalie Calianese    
  •  Daniel Cartwright    
  •  Cynthia Cherian    
  •  Erica Lee    
  •  Danielle Mucek    


Traditional methods of custom orthosis fabrication are prone to challenges and limitations. Three-dimensional (3D) printing has been piloted with lower extremity orthotics and worthy of exploration with upper extremities. The aim of this study was to compare three-dimensionally printed wrist immobilization splints to conventionally made orthoses in terms of fabrication, comfort, and functionality. Three healthy participants with no history of wrist or hand conditions were recruited to be fitted for conventional and 3D-printed wrist immobilization splints. A sequential mixed-methods study design was conducted to explore comfort, fabrication, and functionality. An ethnographic study was conducted afterward to further understand the fabrication process of 3D-printed orthotics. The Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology and a Splint Analysis form was used to assess comfort. The function was assessed using the Jebsen-Taylor Hand Function Test. A five-point satisfaction Likert scale was used to evaluate fabrication. Although the results were not statistically significant due to the small sample size, 3D-printed orthotics appear to provide some benefits over traditional methods.

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