Researchers tested a method of using 3D-printed inserts to restore the fit of a prosthetic socket after substantial residual limb volume loss. The results suggested that the inserts may be an effective method of extending the service life of prosthetic sockets when rapid limb volume loss occurs.
To conduct the test, one research subject with a well-fitting transtibial prosthetic socket had an oversized socket fabricated to simulate substantial limb volume loss. The digital shapes of the oversized and well-fitting sockets were used to create the 3D-printed insert to restore fit.
The researchers found that the participant’s two-minute walk test distance decreased when using the oversized socket without the insert, but not when using the socket with the insert. Socket comfort score was 8+ under all conditions.
The article, Three-dimensional printing in prosthetics: Method for managing rapid limb volume change, was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.