There have been a variety of efforts demonstrating the use of solid freeform fabrication (SFF) for prosthetic socket fabrication though there has been little effort in leveraging the strengths of the technology. SFF encompasses a class of technologies that can create three dimensional objects directly from a geometric database without specific tooling or human intervention. A real strength of SFF is that cost of fabrication is related to the volume of the part, not the part's complexity. For prosthetic socket fabrication this means that a sophisticated socket can be fabricated at essentially the same cost as a simple socket. Adding new features to a socket design becomes a function of software. The work at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) and University of Texas at Austin (UTA) has concentrated on developing advanced sockets that incorporate structural features to increase comfort as well as built in fixtures to accommodate industry standard hardware. Selective laser sintering (SLS) was chosen as the SFF technology to use for socket fabrication as it was capable of fabricating sockets using materials appropriate for prosthetics. This paper details the development of SLS prosthetic socket fabrication techniques at UTHSCSA/UTA over a six-year period.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (miscellaneous)