December 15, 2014 – Prosthetic Hand


Anchor lead:  Can 3D printing supply inexpensive prostheses? Elizabeth Tracey reports

3D printing is being utilized for applications ranging from car parts to body parts.  Such is the utility underway with the direction of Albert Chi, an orthopedic and trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, for children lacking hands.  Chi says it’s very inexpensive.

Chi: I am embarrassed almost to tell you.  They can be as inexpensive as five to ten dollars.  It does take a while to put them together, to print the devices can take upwards of 10 to 12 hours, it’s a labor of love, there’s a lot of sanding involved, to assemble also takes several hours, as well for them to function really smoothly. But the costs that are involved with the raw materials are super inexpensive.   :22

Chi says for kids, who aren’t usually fitted with a permanent prosthetic until they’re fully grown because of price, 3D printing is a Godsend.

Chi: It is pretty amazing.  I have to tell you I’ve been in so much fine, cutting edge research, but there is something so moving about fitting these 3D printed prosthetic devices for the kids.   :10

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.