Engineering 101

The latest innovation in cast/orthosis


Startup ActiveArmor has created a 3D printed cast/orthotic support device for injuries and pain that meets the demands of the medical community. ActivArmor is the first watersafe, custom fit/designed/fabricated orthosis available in the US Market.

The company reports that “being an ActivArmor providing clinic increases patient referrals and throughput as patients seek the product out directly and physicians are making referrals to certified clinics.”

Any doctor is now able to provide their patients with the latest high-tech immobilisation option with no additional time or expense by simply writing a prescription for an ActivArmor custom splint.

Physicians have an infinite number of unique design options, including length, cut lines, exposure of bony protrusions or incisions, adaptability for use with complimentary healing technologies such as ultrasound and bone stimulators, TENS units, biomonitors, EMS, etc.

Using ActivArmor at any phase of the healing process can save clinic time because it is reusable, so eliminates the need for cutting off casts and recasting for each follow-up exam, incision check, or x-ray. There is no need for additional office visits and replacement casts due to claustrophobia, skin irritation, or wet casts.

This can reduce office time and increase patient throughput and efficiencies as well as save money in casting and splinting supplies and inventory. Even if a traditional cast is necessary during the initial phase of an acute injury, ActivArmor can help in later healing phases to give the patient the freedom to ease back into normal activities after injury.

An effective turnaround

When someone breaks their arm, they usually go to the Emergency room, where they receive a temporary splint and then go to an orthopedic surgeon, who will diagnose them and determine what sort of treatment they will need.

The treatment could be to immobilise the patient immediately in a cast (e.g. in the case of a non-displaced, stable fracture) or in a splint (e.g. for a soft tissue injury or sprain), closed reduction (setting the bone without surgery), and open reduction (surgical bone realignment).

In many cases, with an acute injury, a patient will be swollen when they come into their first orthopedic visit. In this case, they receive a compression splint for 1-2 weeks, or a temporary cast, which will become loose as the edema resolves.

With ActivArmor, the exact same process occurs, except when the swelling goes down, the patient will undergo a safe, touch-free, 30 second scan for an ActivArmor device and placed back into their temporary solution (compression/temp splint or bi-valved and wrapped cast) for 3-4 business days until the device arrives at the clinic (ActivArmor provides free temp splints to the clinic for use during this turnaround time).

The appointment time is greatly reduced, as the patient does not need to have a cast applied and wait for it to dry, and the clinic does not have to have any supply inventory or staff time for prep, application of the cast and clean-up.

Further procedures

When the device arrives, the patient will need to stop into the clinic to have their ActivArmor device applied, and the fit confirmed, in moments. Patients will not have to have their casts cut off and re-applied for each subsequent exam and x-ray, and will not have to have any additional appointments for replacement of their cast due to sweat, wet cast, skin irritation or smell.

In addition, patients requiring a splint for support through the healing phases, will not have to pay for a second splint, as ActivArmor easily transitions from a non-removable cast to a removable splint.

Patients saving time casting, having their cast cut off and re-applied multiple times, and eliminating future splinting costs, find the pick-up trip worthwhile. In addition, as ActivArmor is watersafe and breathable, the patient can resume more normal activities while immobilised (such as showering, sweating, doing the dishes, gardening, etc.).

The clinics benefit financially by multiplying their patient throughput with a 30-second scan instead of casting and eliminating all future casting for that patient, plus the staff time, inventory, and clinic space savings.

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