This 3D Printed Cast Can Hasten the Healing of Damaged Bones

Screenshot of the Page for the Osteoid Medical Cast by by Deniz Karasahin (

Screenshot of the Page for the Osteoid Medical Cast by by Deniz Karasahin (

Looks like 3D printing technology is on a roll this year.

At the A’Design Award & Competition, a 3D printed cast won the top distinction in the 3D printed forms and products category. Called Osteoid, this 3D printed item was created to serve as a medical cast and a wearable bone stimulator. Inspired by porous or spongy bone geometry, it was developed by Deniz Karasahin, an industrial designer distinguished for his technical knowledge and bold concepts.

The Osteoid Medical Cast: an Overview

The cast was created with the goal of improving the overall healing process of broken bones while ensuring the wearer’s comfort and protection.  It is specially designed to address the shortcomings of typical casts. Most conventional casts used at present lack  adequate ventilation as they are designed to focus more on structural integrity. The result of this emphasis on structural integrity is less comfort and an itchy sensation attributed to the natural properties of the plaster used. Also, most conventional casts tend to be heavy and bulky.

LIPUS Integration

LIPUS or Low Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound is a form of medical technology that makes use of 1.5 MHz frequency pulses. It serves as a bone stimulator system that uses very short (200 microseconds) ultrasound pulses repeated at 1 kHz at an intensity of 30 mW per square centimeter. The prescribed administration of the ultrasound is 20 minutes daily. LIPUS is said to promote the healing of bone fractures, address orthodontically induced root resorption, enhance mandibular growth among children who suffer hemifacial microsomia, enhance healing in soft tissues, and promote the healing of muscles that have been subjected to laceration injury. LIPUS is said to be capable of enhancing the healing process by up to 38%. Healing improvement can even be higher at 80% for non-union fractures.

In the Osteoid medical cast, LIPUS is in the form of a small attachment bearing probes that can be conveniently connected to the holes of the cast. Since the cast has holes all over it, the probes can be attached at any point to target specific areas that will benefit from the ultrasound treatment. The LIPUS attachment needs to be in direct contact with the skin to be effective.

[Public domain] by Merzperson at

[Public domain] by Merzperson at

Technical Specifications

The Osteoid medical cast comes with a “cancellous” design created through 3D printing. As such, its size will vary depending on the size required by the wearer. However, the model shown at the A’Design Award & Competition was 130 mm x 108 mm x 315 mm. The LIPUS attached to it, on the other hand, was 130 mm x 145 mm x 40 mm. A flexible pin is used to fasten the cast and the LIPUS together while a rubber layer is attached to the edges of the LIPUS adapters.

Creating the Osteoid Cast

A number of relatively new technologies are involved in the production of the Osteoid design and in integrating it with LIPUS. First, it requires the use of a 3D body scanner to determine the right size that will be a perfect fit for the wearer. A modeling software is employed to evaluate and tweak the design. The ventilation holes (an obvious characteristic of the Osteoid design) are algorithmically generated and infused in the design, along with the placement of the LIPUS probe adapters. The final design is then produced using a 3D printer with FDM from ABS. The colors can be modified according to the wearer’s preference. Most parts of the LIPUS bone stimulator component is created in the same way to ensure a good fit and uniformity of design.

Advantages of Osteoid

The 3D printed Osteoid medical cast offers a number of advantages. One of which is the comfort it offers. It is made of a light material and is even made lighter by its “spongy” or “cancellous” design, having ventilation holes all over it. This cast does not look bulky and may even be considered attractive and modern looking. Also, the cast has a lower tendency to develop bad odor. The ventilation holes facilitate good air circulation to minimize moisture within the castl.


[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

3D printing has been in the news several times recently and it proves to be a very good technological advancement. It does not only create technical or industrial items. It also produces custom wearable objects that can even integrate two or more technologies that are useful in the medical field. We can’t wait to hear more of what 3D printing can do.