3D Printed, Fashionable Back Braces Encourage Kids With Scoliosis To Wear Them

Personalized medical devices for young adults improve the chances of treatment success.

Scoliosis braces have come a long way since they were first invented, but 3D Systems wants to create something a bit more personal. The company released plans for “Bespoke” on Monday, which is a 3D-printed brace that can be tailored to the backs of children and young adults who suffer from the condition. Millions of people have to deal with the fact their spines curve at a sideways angle, but the hope is the 3D-printed brace can give them a new way to express their individuality.

Even though children with Scoliosis are often required to wear a brace nearly full time for an average of 2-3 years, it’s common for patients to remove the brace with enough frequency that they require much more invasive surgery. In contrast to unappealing stock models, each 3DS design would be unique, made from comfortable lightweight materials, and feature stylish patterns.

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“The main goal of this is to combine fashion, design, and technology to create a brace far more appealing to patients, and, as a result, far more effective medically,” 3D Systems Bespoke designer Scott Summit told CNET.

A successful pilot program that fit the brace to 22 patients at Children’s Hospital of Oakland in California has made the company optimistic about releasing the idea to the public.

“All of our children wanted the Bespoke Brace,” said Dr. Policy in a blog post on the company’s website. “We had a small 3D printed scale model of the brace on my desk. Once the children saw this, they all wanted one. I’ve never seen children respond so positively to a brace. It was so cool that once they were fitted, many were showing the brace off to their friends.”

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There are certain challenges that still need to be overcome, such as convincing the medical community and insurers with hard data that the idea will work. Even so, it’s hard to argue with Dr. Policy, who said “common sense dictates that if the children like their braces and are more comfortable wearing the devices, we will see higher compliance and greater success.”

3D Systems

[h/t] CNET

Images by 3D Systems

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