3D printing is seen as the future in many industries to produce bespoke products at a lower cost. Nowhere is this more true than in the field of prosthetics and orthotics. The issue is one to follow for those involved in amputation cases, as it is expected to significantly change the way claims are presented and the level of damages awarded.
It is therefore with interest that we see a recent award winning orthosis which utilises this latest technology. The product is intended for use by children with cerebral palsy to counteract hypertonia. The design emphasises the ability for customisation which avoids the pitfalls of current alternatives in on the market; pain caused by a static orthosis and the expense of the hinges in a partly dynamic orthosis.
From an insurer’s point of view, the combination of the ability to allow greater function by avoidance of pain, which will impact on a claimant’s employment and care needs, whilst also reducing cost, are the key benefits.
It is expected that 3D printing will have a similar impact on prostheses for amputees. Further progress in this area is eagerly anticipated.
David Thompson is a Partner and member of BLM's Amputation Subject Matter Group, which focuses on an area of claims that is constantly evolving and is subject to significant claims inflation with costs of new technology rising year on year. Find out more about the Catastrophic Injury team's Subject Matter Groups here.