3D printing: patients benefit from custom orthoses
plus medica OT becomes Ottobock partner
Ottobock has acquired a majority stake in Düsseldorf-based company plus medica OT and thus gained a strong partner in the field of 3D printing. Since 2015, young start-up plus medica OT has been successfully marketing 3D-printed orthoses, including dynamic ankle-foot orthoses, which are fabricated primarily for children. In future, the business will be run under the strong brand of globally operating med-tech company Ottobock.
“3D printing is a key component of the digital transformation in the O&P industry,” says Dr Oliver Scheel, CEO of Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA. One of the advantages that 3D-printed orthoses offer patients is breathability thanks to their perforated surface. It makes the otherwise sturdy device breathable and flexible where required, resulting in product advantages that are not possible with conventional fabrication methods.
O&P professionals at the medical supply companies have the opportunity to send the scans they have created themselves to Ottobock and then receive the 3D-printed orthosis. However, sending in plaster casts is also an option. Ottobock then performs the scan that is necessary for the printing procedure. “The scanned shape gives us an exact representation of the body part being fitted. The O&P professional can then adapt the orthosis that will be printed down to the millimetre on their computer,” says Scheel.
“Together with plus medica OT, we are making major advances in digitisation in the orthopaedic industry. Cooperation between various partners is therefore of crucial importance,” says Sarik Weber, Chief Digital Officer of Ottobock since May 1. Ottobock’s investment in digital fabrication opportunities represents a further expansion of the Duderstadt-based company’s portfolio in the area of orthoses produced for a custom, perfect fit.
“Our shared goal is to take the development and fabrication of orthopaedic devices to a new level and improve the quality of life of those affected thanks to innovative solutions," says Dr Georg Landsberg, founder and CEO of plus medica OT. “Optimisations with respect to weight, function, breathability and above all design have shown that patients who have worn an orthosis fabricated with additive manufacturing methods tend to continue doing so. We are delighted to be working with a strong partner to move these precise topics forward.”