A new fabrication technique utilizing a composite material applied to orthopedic bracing
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An orthopedic brace fabrication and fitting technique was explored as a rapid and cost-effective alternative process to polypropylene fabrication. Other potential benefits could also be reduced weight and lower profile with the added advantage of allowing profile and firmness variation where desired. The novel process concept is based on the finding that a partially cured composite remains somewhat malleable. Clinicians conceivably can adjust an ankle-foot brace to the patient directly before fully curing the brace. Flexure experiments assessed both the partial curing concept and the ability to post-form. Results indicate that partial curing followed by ambient or heated adjustments and full curing compromises the strength by no more than 7%. However, adjustments resulted in a net displacement change averaging only 50% of that desired when heat was applied. It is also possible to post-form the fully cured brace. This compromises the material strength significantly in the deformed area, but it may be feasible for minor adjustments where applied loads are not extreme. This research demonstrates the feasibility of the process as an alternative to current techniques, especially for patients needing a strong brace.
author list (cited authors)
Morrison, B. J., Creasy, T. S., Polliack, A. A., & Fite, R.