Jun 23, 2016 | By Tess

Lake Placid, NY based Create Prosthetics, known primarily for its innovative and customizable 3D printed prosthetic covers, has recently been putting its expertise in prosthetics to new uses. Most recently, for instance, the company created what they are calling the first ever medical-grade 3D printed arm prosthetic, which they made for a young Haitian mother who lost her arm in the 2010 earthquake.

Create Prosthetics, which was founded by Jeff Erenstone in 2015, has been working on the design and prototyping of the prosthetic limb for the past year in their Lake Placid lab. After much hard work and dedication, the 3D printed prosthetic arm was brought to Haiti by Erenstone to be fitted onto one Danis Exulise, a 20 year old single mother who was forced to cut off her own arm after being trapped under earthquake rubble in the violent 2010 Haiti earthquake.

The 3D printed transhumeral prosthesis made by Create Prosthetics offers a number of advantages over traditionally made ones, such as being more lightweight—it weighs only 2 lbs, about half as much as regular prosthetics—and having a more appealing aesthetic appearance. Considering that it was created by a company that specializes in making prosthetics more visually interesting, this last benefit is no surprise. Finally, the 3D printed arm prosthetic has also been designed for optimal grasping functionalities.

As Erenstone explains of the innovative design, “We have found a niche that a 3D-printed prosthetic arm fills very well. Other prosthetic arms may be more functional, but our arm is very attractive and easy to become accustomed to. If an amputee has trouble with other arms, they may want to try ours.”

Accompanied by Healing Hands for Haiti, an organization focused on bringing rehabilitation medicine to the impoverished country, Erenstone traveled to Port-au-Prince with the prosthetic in early June to conduct the fitting and to assemble the prosthetic arm. This was done in partnership with the Enable Community Foundation (ECF), which itself supports the well known e-NABLE network of volunteer makers.

As one can imagine, fitting the 3D printed prosthetic arm onto Danis Exulise was an emotional affair, and even Erenstone found himself brought to tears. He explains, “You have to understand how important that moment was. It means that her daughter has accepted the prosthetic as a part of her mother and not as an attachment or appliance. You wouldn’t walk up and kiss a toaster.”

As mentioned, Create Prosthetics is saying this is the first ever 3D printed medical-grade prosthetic arm to be made, which they achieved by following strict FDA guidelines for 3D printed medical-grade devices. With the success of their product’s development, they will begin selling kits for their 3D printed prosthetic arms in North America. These kits can be used for transradial (below the elbow) or transhumeral prosthetics and are designed to fit onto any prosthetist designed sockets.

In collaboration with ECF, Create Prosthetics will also continue to bring their innovative prosthetics to parts of the world where medical devices are not always accessible. “We’ve been working with ECF and other groups for years to get prosthetic devices to people who need them most. It’s just part of being world citizens and we are honored to help.” According to the company, this last trip to Haiti was its fourth official trip to a developing country. Previously, Create Prothetics also sent representatives to Nepal and India, where they brought materials and their skills to offer guidance. Within the next few months, Erenstone and his team are also reportedly planning two more trips to Haiti and Nepal.

Photos courtesy of Create Prosthetics



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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