3D Printed Orthopedic CastThe plaster cast is a mainstay of modern orthopedic medicine. It is the star of countless movies and memories in which an injured child returns to school and collects signatures from dozens of fawning friends. There is nothing like a cast.

Yet now the vaunted cast may be threatened. 3D printing promises to disrupt just about everything about the way objects are created, especially in medicine. Recently a graduate student created a prototype for a lightweight, printable cast made of polymer that includes low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) within its casing. The benefits are clear – far less weight, far more customization in form and appearance, and a greatly increased chance of faster healing thanks to the proven benefits of LIPUS.  Most importantly, depending on the 3D printed cast material, it may be safe to use in the water.

Think of this as just one of many new technologies that are changing the field of orthopedic surgery, giving patients across the country better access to more comfortable aftercare and healing. To learn more about some of the most advanced technologies in sports medicine, please contact my San Diego orthopedic surgery center today.


The march of medical technology is swift; constantly punctuating the industry with clever new ideas. As a specialist in San Diego knee surgery, I am particularly attuned to any mention of medical devices that might save patients the discomfort and commitment of the need for surgery.

One such device has been receiving a good deal of press recently. Designed to help patients who suffer with knee pain maintain mobility without wearing a cumbersome brace, the product is comprised of tights that contain rigid guides:

Opedix has struggled to differentiate itself from another type of garment that’s popular with runners and looks very similar: compression tights. What sets Opedix tights apart, Mr. Gustafson says, are the bands of stiff fabric that descend down the leg from the hips, wrap around the knees and extend to the ankles.

It is a promising idea, and a nice reminder that we still have much to learn and invent in the field of sports medicine. But until such devices are clinically proven, your best bet to relieve chronic knee pain is to visit a San Diego knee surgery expert today.

© 2023 Dr. Robert Afra – San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Shoulder – Knee – Elbow