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A Method for 3-D Printing Patient-Specific Prosthetic Arms With High Accuracy Shape and Size

Limb amputation creates serious emotional and functional damage to the one who lost a limb. For some upper limb prosthesis users, comfort and appearance are among the desired features. The objective of this paper is to develop a streamlined methodology for prosthesis design by recreating the shape and size of an amputated arm with high accuracy through 3-D printing and silicone casting. To achieve this, the computer tomography (CT) images of the patient’s affected and non-affected arms were scanned. Next, the geometry of the socket and the prosthetic arm were designed according the mirrored geometry of the non-affected arm through computer-aided design software. The support structure and the moulds were 3-D printed, and the prosthetic arm was casted with a silicone material. To validate the replication, the shape of the socket and prosthetic arm were quantitatively compared with respect to the source CT scan from the patient. The prosthetic arm was found to have high accuracy on the basis of the Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC; 0.96), percent error (0.67%), and relative mean distance (0.34 mm, SD = 0.48 mm). Likewise, the socket achieved high accuracy based on those measures: DSC (0.95), percent error (2.97%), and relative mean distance (0.46 mm, SD = 1.70 mm) The liner, socket, and prosthetic arm were then shipped to the patient for fitting. The patient found the fit of the socket and the replication of the shape and the size of the prosthesis to be desirable. Overall, this paper demonstrates that CT imaging, computed-aided design, desktop 3-D printing, and silicone casting can achieve patient-specific cosmetic prosthetic arms with high accuracy.

View this article on IEEE Xplore