Researchers at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University developed a simple, low-cost transradial socket fabrication method that does not require specialized equipment or electricity and can be performed by people with minimal prosthetic training.
The simplified, inexpensive method to fabricate sockets directly over the residual limb uses expandable foam with an integrated cosmetic/structural covering (i.e., an exoskeletal system). The mass-producible, strong, cosmetically appealing plastic outer shell was tested by fabricating sockets for four individuals with unilateral transradial amputations.
A person with no formal prosthetic training fabricated the sockets and assembled a functional, comfortable prosthesis system within 90 minutes. All materials, tools, and written instructions for the fabrication and fitting method can be provided in a kit for under $100. Instructions for fabrication and fitting can be provided in multiple languages using online videos.
Further work is required to determine durability, assess comfort, refine suspension methods, and to develop instructional materials, according to the study.
The study, A novel, low-cost transradial socket fabrication method using mass-producible components and expanding rigid foam, was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0309364620950850