3D printed cast makes healing broken bones easier

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A 3D printed hard cast makes it a little more bearable to wear one. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A 3D printed hard cast makes it a little more bearable to wear one. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Maddox was still able to enjoy the water even with a broken wrist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Maddox was still able to enjoy the water even with a broken wrist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Fitzmaurice Hand Institute is the only place in Arizona where you can be fitted for the device. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Fitzmaurice Hand Institute is the only place in Arizona where you can be fitted for the device. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dr. Fitzmaurice says the fit is actually better than a plaster cast and has other advantages as well. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dr. Fitzmaurice says the fit is actually better than a plaster cast and has other advantages as well. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Valley mom Tami Simmons was bracing for a long summer when a few months ago, son Maddox came home from Sunday school.

“At Sunday school, I am very active, and I like jumping off stuff and I jumped off something and I smacked my wrist really hard,” remembers Maddox. 

And Simmons says that led to a not-so-pleasant diagnosis.

“We didn’t realize it was broken until I took him in and they did the x-ray and yup, 100 percent fracture,” Simmons said.

And that meant her 7-year-old would need a cast, something neither she nor he was looking forward to.

“He would have been uncomfortable. He would have been crabby. He would have been itchy... and sticking wires in there and itching it, and putting a bag over it, and watching everyone swim and he would have been crying every day,” Simmons said. 

A sentiment echoed by Maddox.

“It would be really weird and I wouldn’t be able to take it off at all. And it would be really uncomfortable and itchy,“ he said.

But it turns out  Maddox is none of those things. Despite his broken wrist, he is still running, jumping, and swimming. It's all thanks to a colorful, but unconventional cast on his arm.

“So with this device, it is a hard plastic that has a mesh design. It has all kinds of holes in it,” says Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice, MD of the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute here in the Valley, describing the 3D printed hard cast from ActivArmor. “So it protects the injured area but it allows water to penetrate through. You can take a shower, you can swim, you can be active in your lifestyle.”

Fitzmaurice Hand Institute is the only place in Arizona where you can be fitted for the device.

“They took a 3D image of his wrist and designed this piece just for him," says Simmons.

In a few days, the printed cast is returned and ready to wear.

“And it is lightweight. They told me it is made of the same material that a Lego is made of,” she adds.

Dr. Fitzmaurice says the fit is actually better than a plaster cast and has other advantages as well.

“Say you have an incision there and you can actually look at the incision site without having to worry about taking the cast off and putting a new one back on… It makes it easier also to do ultrasound therapy, you know, you have a little window you can cut out and you have an ultrasound device that can stimulate bone healing… It actually decreases the bacterial level, because you can actually wash underneath,” he said.

All making for better healing, and happier patients.

“It is awesome, it is really cool, you should get it,” says Maddox before diving back in the water.

Although the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute is the only place you can be fitted in Arizona, other doctors can write a prescription authorizing them to do that.  And the ActivArmor cast is covered by most insurance, but you should check your policy for specific cost differences compared to a plaster cast.

For more info visit Fitzmaurice Hand Institute's website at http://www.fitzhand.com/ or called them at 480-351-6483. ActivArmor's website is at https://activarmor.com/.

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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