Researchers in the United Kingdom compared AFOs produced by laser scanning and those produced by traditional plaster casting and found that laser scanning did not significantly improve the quality of the final product or the time to delivery. The researchers noted that the time spent correcting and molding scanned AFOs was about 50 percent less than for cast AFOs, and it took a “non-significant increase” of nine days to deliver laser-scanned AFOs to the patient compared to cast AFOs. They also noted that there was a higher incidence of problems with the scan-based AFOs at delivery of the device, but no difference in how long the AFOs lasted. Costs associated with laser scanning were not significantly different from traditional AFO fabrication methods.
The study, in which neither the orthotists nor the patients were aware of which AFO fabrication method was used, was published online before print October 21 in the journal Prosthetics and Orthotics International.