Rapid and Flexible 3D Printed Finger Prostheses With Soft Fingertips: Technique and Clinical Application

We present a method for fabricating passive finger prostheses with soft fingertips by utilizing 3D scanning and 3D printing with flexible filament. The proposed method uses multi-process printing at varying infill levels to provide soft fingertips to emulate biological fingers. The proposed method also enables rapid prototyping of finger prostheses, and the flexibility to change interphalangeal joint angles to fit the prostheses for different manipulation and occupational therapy tasks. The entire process of designing and fabricating the prostheses can be conducted in one day. The presented technique uses scan data of the intact side fingers to provide the shape and contour of the finger prostheses, while the socket is designed based on the scan data of the amputation side. The paper presents the developed technique and its clinical application. Experiments are conducted to measure the stiffness of the printed material at varying infill levels and the stiffness of the printed fingertips. The results are compared to measurements of biological fingertip stiffness from the literature. The clinical application includes two cases, one case with distal phalanx loss on the thumb, index, and middle fingers, and one case with distal and middle phalanx loss on the middle and ring fingers. Fitting was successful for both recipients and they were both able to use the prostheses successfully.

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