3D Printed Splint Goes Toe To Toe With Medical Grade Equipment

When you think of medical devices, the idea of high end, well, pretty much everything, comes to mind. This is definitely the case when it comes to prosthetics, or in this similar case, custom fit splints. A hacker by the name of [sammyizimmy] wasn’t put off by the complexity of a custom splint for his fractured big toe, and a great hack made it all possible.

InVesalius reconstructs the CT Scan imagery

The story starts with a fractured toe, and an open source project called InVesalius. Instead of doing an X-Ray on his toe, [sammyizimmy]’s doctor decided to do a Computed Tomography scan (aka CT Scan) to get a look at the damage. For being as ubiquitous as they are, it’s easy to forget that a CT scan is an extremely detailed look at both internal and external parts.

The hack really began when [sammyizimmy] asked his radiologist for a copy of the CT Scan. This is something most radiologists will provide upon request, although many people don’t know you can even ask. [sammyizimmy] took his CT scan and opened it up in InVesalius, and then reconstructed the skin layer only, and then… head over to the “3d printed Toe Splint” page at Hackaday.io for the rest!

If medical hacks are are your kind of medicine, you might appreciate this HDD-Turned-Centrifuge too!

11 thoughts on “3D Printed Splint Goes Toe To Toe With Medical Grade Equipment

  1. I printed a wrist brace from Thingiverse to manage carpal tunnel syndrome issues until I was able to have surgery. I went from severe pain and sleepless nights to being able to sleep without pain the night I used it. I showed the surgeon who was stunned at what was possible with a cheap ($200) 3d printer.

  2. Nitpick: CT scanners use a rotating X-ray tube, so they did X-ray his toe, just more precisely and lots of times. What they didn’t do is merely take an X-ray radiograph.

  3. First of all, good job! It looks like a good fit and a great application. In fact, it reminded me of this: https://www.livescience.com/4555-world-prosthetic-egyptian-mummy-fake-toe.html

    One word about making your own braces. I worked in the orthotics R&D and made braces in the shop as “welcome to the industry” training. As a result, I am perfectly capable of making many types of braces, but for something load bearing I would want the input of an orthotist or physician if I could get it. This is the voice of experience from someone who can make braces and has flat feet.

    A lot of adjustments are made to “professional” braces to adjust from unloaded to loaded position, ensure that nerves aren’t under pressure, joints are supported correctly and so on. While I can duplicate a professional insole, I’ve never made one on my own that helps correct the issue. Do it, but if you can get advice it will save a lot of iterations.

    In short, there is a difference between a brace that maintains things as-is and a brace that puts things in the proper orientation to promote healing.

  4. It would be interesting to see how this compares to standard treatment. Toes are generally “buddy taped” meaning we tape it to the next toe and use that, combined with a hard-sole shoe as a splint.

  5. I got the ct data from getting my wisdom teeth out a few months ago. Unfortunately it’s not my full skull so I haven’t spent the time to try to clean up the fuzziness to be able to print myself. Maybe I’ll just print the skin model.

  6. I work at a veterinary hospital. One of the docs cut off the end of his finger tip in a kitchen accident, I printed a hollow thumb much like this toe. It allowed him to continue to work as the finger healed by avoiding any painful pressure to the finger tip.

  7. This could be cheaper, though much slower, than splinting with low temperature thermoplastic. That stuff from companies like Orfit, Orfilite, iSun, Rolyan is very expensive. $30, $40, $50 or more for one 18×24 inch sheet, just because it’s for medical use.

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