SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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DESIGNING BESPOKE ADJUSTABLE SOCKETS FOR PROSTHETHICS USING CAD SOFTWARE AND 3D PRINTING
Philip van der Walt, Neil van der Merwe, Deon de Beer

Last modified: 2014-11-02

Abstract


A prosthetic limb is only effective to a patient if it fits properly. The socket part of a prosthetic is the part that interacts with the human body and is subsequently the key element between the human body and the prosthesis. The human body is not a static organism: Most amputees experience some level of volume change – ranging from subtle to drastic – during the course of a day. Various factors that affect the volume of the limb include reduction of post-operative oedema, changes in body weight, muscle atrophy, swelling and the temporary reduction of fluids in the limb caused by the normal pumping action of walking in prosthesis. This creates problems with the fit of the prosthesis as the sockets are normally a static component and patients can experience extreme discomfort. The focus of the research is to create a 3D printed socket that can be adjusted by the patient accordingly as the stump changes during the course of a day. A 3D scan is used to generate a perfect copy of the stump and then a socket is designed around the scan. Various slits are incorporated into the socket to allow flexibility and an off-the-shelve tightening system can easily be incorporated into the socket. This allows the patient to have control over the fit and comfort which can easily be adjusted to their specific needs by themselves.




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