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  • Writer's pictureEva Stahl

The alternative to plaster casts in orthopedic technology

Pose correction digitally - 3D scans as the basis for individual orthotics

For a long time, the plaster cast and work in the plaster room were considered the basis of a CPO's work, a process that was quite time-consuming.

A faster and more convenient alternative to plaster casts is now offered by 3D scans and the possibility of digital pose correction via tools like Mecuris3D Correction.

This alternative offers:

  • Advantages for the patient in terms of cleanliness, comfort and flexibility.

  • Advantages for the prosthetist/orthotist

    • Time saving: creation of impression and model in a few minutes

    • Digitization of the casts / plaster store

    • Simplified archiving and progress control

    • Less material required, less waste

    • Competitive advantages over less modern houses

    • Increased attractiveness for young prosthetists/orthotists

    • 100% reproducible

Let's take a closer look at the individual arguments below.

Alternative to plaster casts: The 3D scan and digital pose correction in orthopedics technology

Modern 3D scanners create an exact image of a patient's anatomy in just a few seconds. This means that the plaster cast previously used for this purpose has become obsolete in cases where patients are physically able to hold their limbs reasonably still for the scan. In addition to high-quality handheld scanners, scanners for the iPad in particular offer medical supply stores of all sizes an economical entry into the digitization of orthopedic technology. This is because the digital creation of an orthosis requires a digital basis on which a necessary pose correction can then be made and an orthosis created. But what are the advantages of the digital procedure for patients and CPOs?

The advantages for the patient: Clean, pleasant, flexible

Patients are happy to visit the "modern" medical supply store, where their own fitting becomes a "clean business" and physically more comfortable. Often, however, the patient has to be placed in an already (partially) corrected position for the orthosis plaster cast to be made, which then has to be held. This is an uncomfortable and sometimes painful procedure - not only for children.

A 3D scan, on the other hand, can be taken in an uncorrected pose and then the posture can be easily corrected digitally. Some patients also find it pleasant that a certain physical "distance" can be maintained during the 3D scan. And regardless of age, the scanning method enjoys great enthusiasm when one's own body part can suddenly be seen three-dimensionally on a screen. Another advantage is that this technology makes home and clinic visits even easier, which can be especially important for older patients or those who feel more secure in their home environment.

The advantages for the CPO: fast creation and further processing, material-saving, economical

CPOs, on the other hand, benefit from these advantages as well, plus register many more: They save material in the plastering process and being in the plaster room. The plaster stock, which they often keep on hand, can be reduced. The documentation of the treatment and its progress monitoring is also made much easier.

It goes without saying that the amount of waste can be reduced if plastering is eliminated. In addition, every CPOgains flexibility if there is no longer any dependence on the plaster room. Particularly in the case of "standard cases", significant time and effort can be saved in the physical workshop. This time can instead be used to advise patients, strengthening the bond with the patient and thus, their satisfaction.

With the digital approach to creating an orthosis, CPOs are taking their patients into the future of their craft and giving themselves a modern makeover. In this way, they position themselves in the competitive environment and, as a modern and progressive employer, also become interesting for the next generation of CPOs.

Mecuris3D Correction: From uncorrected 3D scan to corrected 3D positive model in just a few minutes

An uncorrected scan, on its’ own, of course, has no added value, this is where it gets really exciting. Hereis where the Mecuris Solution Platform (MSP) comes into play with its three tools for orthosis creation: With Mecuris3D Correction, Mecuris3D Modeling and Mecuris3D Creator, the medical professional has all the tools he knows at his fingertips in his digital workshop to create orthoses digitally.

Let's now take a closer look at the first step, as our Mecuris3D Correction tool provides medical professionals with a powerful tool for digitizing the plaster cast on the Mecuris Solution Platform (MSP): Correcting a scan digitally is the first step to creating a functional form or an orthosis blank online.

Pose correction based on a user scan or the scan of a plaster cast

With Mecuris3D Correction, CPOs convert a user scan into a digital, corrected 3D positive model in just a few minutes, making plaster cast work obsolete. If casting is necessary due to the patients needs this tool will still help by avoiding the cumbersom, often dirty work on the cast.

To use the digital tool for pose correction, the platform user uploads the user scan, sets reference points and then makes corrections to the foot or hand. As for the foot you will be able to changes to plantar flexion or dorsiflexion, inversion or eversion, and abduction or adduction. For the hand you will be able to change extension or flexion, pronation or supination as well as the radios and ulnar deviation.

As soon as the desired settings have been made, they can be defined as a neutral position and the desired correction values can be entered on this basis. The corrected, still unmodeled 3D positive model can then be downloaded for documentation and/or modeled in a functional form in the next tool, Mecuris3D Modeling.

The advantages at a glance

  • With one user scan, corrections can be made for a functional orthosis as well as for a positioning orthosis, and each can be saved separately.

  • Do you only have the special-purpose form available? No problem. Of course, you can also scan them at any time and then continue working digitally.

  • Do you want to specifically reduce your plaster stock? Then simply scan the models and archive them digitally.

  • The Mecuris Solution Platform is web-based. This means that data can be processed anywhere and at any time, and CPOs are no longer tied to the physical workshop - neither for the scan nor for the posture correction. In addition, the hardware used - i.e. the PC/laptop - does not have to be particularly powerful.

The craft and experience of the individual CPO are and will always remain the core of successful orthotic treatment, even when working digitally. This expertise cannot and will not be replaced by working with the tools on the Mecuris Solution Platform. We are convinced that technical progress is only an alternative for the industry if medical professionals remain the driving force. This is the only way to provide optimal and individualized care to a patient in a way that benefits not only the body but also the mind to the greatest extent possible. We want to help make it faster, easier and more economical for the orthotist/prosthetist to work, freeing up time for personal interaction with the patient. But with a constant focus on the quality you need.

Mecuris3D Correction is available to all users on the Mecuris Solution Platform (MSP) as part of two workflows.

Curious? Do you also want to save valuable time in the physical workshop for you and your colleagues? Then sign up for our on-demand webinar "How to Create an AFO Ready for 3D Printing"

Tipp: US-colleagues will get free CEUs for it!

You want a personal demo of the tools on the Mecuris Solution Platform? You can see availabilities for a personal call right here.


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