US Researchers Continue to Improve 3D Printed Prosthetics for Children
“US researchers from the University of Central Florida and Oregon Health and Science University have come together to review the history not only of prosthetics overall in the medical field but also to further inspect the transformation allowed by 3D printing. Contending that there are still many problems to be solved in prosthetics, the authors further explore children’s physical and emotional needs in the face of being born without or losing a limb later. Their central interest lies in new clinical trials, and in the generous—and growing—maker community.
Over 32,500 children in the US have endured amputations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with another 1,500 born with ‘upper-limb reductions’ annually (around 4 out of every 10,000 babies born). The authors state that many complexities arise with these limb amputations and reductions, and as a result, the use of prosthetics is still surprisingly limited. Users also tend to reject or put off applying for prosthetics due to:
- Lack of aesthetic design
- Issues with insurance or medical help
- Lack of affordability overall
It may be hard to imagine the incredible level of self-consciousness in missing a limb—not to mention the challenges of wearing an artificial replacement in public. Because of obvious and completely understandable self-image dynamics, the researchers assert that aesthetics are a priority if users are realistically expected to wear their prosthetics long-term.”
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