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Original report

Production time and user satisfaction of 3-dimensional printed orthoses for chronic hand conditions compared with conventional orthoses: A prospective case series

Tanja Oud, Yvette Kerkum, Peter de Groot, Harm Gijsbers, Frans Nollet, Merel-Anne Brehm
Rehabilitation Medicine, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, , Amsterdam, The Netherlands
DOI: 10.2340/20030711-1000048


Objective: Hand orthoses are often prescribed for persons with chronic hand and wrist impairments. This study assessed the feasibility, in terms of production time and user satisfaction, of 3-dimensional printed hand orthoses compared with conventional hand orthoses for this population.
Methods: In this prospective case series, both a conventional hand orthosis and a 3-dimensional printed hand orthosis were manufactured for 10 participants. Production time (in minutes) of each orthosis was recorded. Each orthosis was worn for one week, after which participants completed a self-designed questionnaire on satisfaction, scored on a 5-point Likert scale. Functionality and orthosis preference were also assessed.
Results: The mean (standard deviation (SD)) production time for the 3-dimensional printed orthoses, of 112 (11. 0) min, was significantly shorter compared with 239 (29. 2) min for the conventional or-thoses (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 71–182 min, p = 0. 001). Satisfaction scores were similar for both orthoses, except for comfort item “fitting method”, which was rated significantly higher for scanning compared with casting (median [IQR] score: 5 [0. 0]; 4 [2. 0], p = 0. 034). Functionality and orthosis preference were rated similar for both orthoses.
Conclusion: As the production time was halved, user satisfaction similar, and scanning experienced as slightly more comfortable than casting, 3-dimensional printed hand orthoses seem feasible and potentially beneficial for use in people with chronic hand and wrist impairments.

Lay Abstract

Persons with chronic hand and wrist impairments often use an orthosis to make it easier to perform daily activities. Three-dimensional scanning and printing can facilitate the manufacturing of hand orthoses. This study compared 3-dimensional printed orthoses with conventional orthoses for persons with chronic hand and wrist impairments, with regard to production time and user satisfaction. Ten participants used a 3-dimensional printed orthosis, as well as a conventional orthosis, each for one week. The results showed that production time of 3-dimensional printed orthoses was half that of conventional orthoses. Satisfaction with both orthoses was similar, except for the “fitting method”, whereby fitting by 3-dimensional scanning was perceived as slightly more comfortable compared with conventional casting. Functionality and orthosis preference were rated similar for both orthoses. In conclusion, 3-dimensional printed orthoses appear to be a potential treatment option for persons with chronic hand and wrist impairments.


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