Who has never had to wear orthopedic plaster or meet someone who has worn it and hear them complain about the discomfort caused by this instrument? With PlayCast it won't be like that anymore.
It's all Italian the innovation in the orthopedic field by PlayCast, a start-up born in Padua in 2018 that has patented an orthopedic plaster that can be created with a 3D printer.
The techniques used by the traditional plaster, patented in 1851, in fact, have remained almost unchanged since then, like its weaknesses: the encumbrance and the discomfort caused to the patient. From now it will be possible try this new orthopedic plaster thanks to the experimentation begun in hospitals and rehabilitation centres in the Veneto region.
The founders Jacopo Lazzaro (architect), Davide Ranaldo (orthopedic surgeon) and Nicola Trevisan (who takes care of the financial part) have decided to remedy the limits imposed by traditional plaster by studying PLA, a plastic derived from vegetable fiber recyclable and biodegradable. This material, customizable also in colors, allows the skin to breathe, does not cause allergy problems and, thanks to the perforated structure the patient can continue to do physical activity, go to the pool, the beach or simply had a shower without the need to cover the plaster with plastic bags. Moreover, thanks to the patented closure of the two parts that make up the plaster, the doctor will be able to know whether the patient removes it or tamperes with it, thus also reducing the risks of insurance problems.
This project, carried out for years in an experimental phase, has been supported by Start Cube, a structure of the University of Padua created to facilitate the birth of new businesses.
The founders initially encountered a couple of problems with scanning and adapting to 3D printers.
First problem was for scanning, in fact, to create the custom-made plaster, it would be necessary to stay in the same position at least for 30 seconds, difficult to think if your patient is a child with a broken leg; to solve this problem, a modular scanner has been developed, able to work on any part of the body and take snapshots from which it obtains the model for 3D printing.
The second problem was to adapt the project to 3D printers. Now the models are compatible with any printer but it takes hours to get the finished product so the founders are studying to develop a printer suitable for the purpose that takes less time and resources.
Last but not least, another advantage of this plaster compared to the traditional one is the cost, in fact the PLA has very low costs and the tools to create it do not need highly qualified personnel (such as plasterers in the case of traditional plaster); in addition, the fact that the plaster is made to measure for the patient reduces the problems of numbness and collapse of the plaster that usually lead the patient back to the clinic.