3D Printed Knee Brace May Soon Help People Recover From Knee Surgery
Imagine being able to use 3D printing to build an advanced medical device, which provides assistance to people suffering from knee disabilities or recovering from knee surgery. A Chinese science and technology company did just that, developing a 3D-printed exoskeleton called BioNEEK, that makes use of PEEK material.
PEEK (an acronym for Polyether Ether Ketone) is a high-performance 3D printing filament that is often used for medical applications. The company joined hands with INTAMSYS (Intelligent Additive Manufacturing Systems) to develop a passive exoskeleton for the knee. INTAMSYS offers top quality 3D printed parts in a variety of high-performance materials, of which PEEK is one.
With biomechanical assistance, the BioNEEK brace enhances support, reduces impact, improves stability and maximizes the protection of the knee, so that it can be constantly rehabilitated. The magnetorheological damper works just like a shock absorption system and reduces impact on users’ knees, while improving endurance and mobility.
The adjustable hinge on the BioNEEK is beneficial to users with chronic knee problems by preventing hyperextension, expediting rehabilitation and relieving pain. The hinge tracks users’ knee natural movement to maintain support and provide lateral stability to the ligaments while the joint is in motion.
The knee is one of the most vulnerable and short-life hinge joints in the human anatomy, with an average life expectancy of 50 years. Many seniors are suffering from different types of knee problems, which affect their normal lifestyle and reduce mobility in their old age.
Knee pain is a very common problem, caused by wear and tear resulting from daily activities or sports injuries. Sprains, torn or swollen ligaments, cartilage tears and runners knee are the main reasons for knee pain that can quite often be unbearable.
Sports-related injuries usually affect only one knee whereas arthritis, gout, pseudogout or osteoarthritis can cause pain in both knees. A passive exoskeleton such as BioNEEK, can become extremely useful to aid people in such cases and ensure knee protection as well as faster recovery.
With the growing knee problems in today’s generation, products like BioNEEK can be a huge help for people with restricted mobility due to knee injuries. The device can also be used to provide support and strength to the knee post knee-replacement surgeries.
The future for 3D printed medical devices is already very bright. BioNEEK is one of many promising devices we expect to make use of the infinite customization that 3D printing offers, to give patients tailored solutions to their joint problems.