3D-Printed Transitional Prostheses May Improve Dexterity in Kids, Study Shows

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Knowledge about the use of 3D-printed transitional prostheses for children is limited as it relates to changes in function and strength, according to a study published November 8 in the online edition of Journal Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology. The study aimed to identify functional and strength changes after a 3D-printed transitional prosthesis, the Cyborg Beast 2, was used for multiple weeks for children with upper-limb differences, and found that the prostheses may improve manual gross dexterity in children.

Eleven children, five girls and six boys ages three years to 15 years of age, participated in the study. Gross manual dexterity was assessed using the Box and Blocks Test and wrist strength was measured using a dynamometer. Nine of the children were fitted with the 3D-printed transitional partial hand or arm and two were fitted with a prosthesis. Testing was conducted before and after a period of 24 weeks (plus or minus 2.61 weeks) of using the transitional prosthesis.

Repeated analyses of variance were performed to analyze function and strength data, which showed there was a significant hand by time interaction for function, but not for strength, the study showed. The authors concluded that the increase in manual gross dexterity suggests that the Cyborg Beast 2 3D-printed prosthesis can be used as a transitional device to improve function in children with traumatic or congenital upper-limb differences.