Traditional prosthetics are very expensive and bulky. Each prosthetic that is made can cost an individual anywhere from 5 thousand dollars to upwards of 120 thousand dollars making these devices completely unaffordable to many people in need. This problem is made far worse for those that can manage to afford a prosthetic when the individual outgrows that prosthetic and needs another one that fits more appropriately.
If a child or infant is in need of a large prosthetic such as a leg, that prosthetic could require repair or replacement every 6 months to a year for the first few years of their lifetime. Even those that are finished growing will need to replace their prosthetics every 5 years as prosthetics simply wear out with constant use. 3D printers could stop this cycle of expensive and painful suffering. As 3D printing techniques and printers are becoming more readily available, traditional prosthetics are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Benefits of 3D Prosthetics Over Traditional Prosthetics
Many children are born with defects or suffer tragic accidents that change the course of their lives completely. Some children are born without limbs or with deformities that interfere with their ability to live a normal, happy, healthy lifestyle. Other children are born in perfect health with all of their limbs, but suffer partial or full amputation due to gangrene, frostbite, car accidents, home accidents, or “freak” illnesses.
Children are naturally inquisitive individuals whose only job in life is to explore their surroundings and develop motor skills, social skills, and cognitive skills. This job is often frustrating for a child whose parents cannot afford an expensive prosthetic. This is where 3D printed prosthetics help a child to be themselves. This is where 3D printed prosthetics help any individual to be themselves.
Devices for Lower Budgets
3D printed prosthetics are merely a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics. Many of these devices can be purchased for less than one thousand dollars. Other devices are donated or available for a lesser fee to families that are facing financial hardship. These prosthetics do not take weeks to create like other traditional prosthetics take to process.
An individual will still be able to get that custom fit that is offered with traditional prosthetics, but will only have to wait a few hours for their 3D printed prosthetic to be finished. Parents, spouses, family members, and even friends may even be able to afford a 3D printing device to create the prosthetics that their loved one needs to function. These printers have been known to cost as little as 200 dollars. If a family can print their own prosthetics, then they will not have to pay a labor or materials fee to have another individual create the prosthetic for them.
Children and other individuals may even have a say on what colors are used in the process. These 3D printed prosthetics are created individually with a custom fit for each person that needs one. The hidden benefit of having these items 3D printed comes in the form of customization.