Forearm fractures such as distal radius fractures are traditionally treated with a plaster or synthetic cast. Patients commonly report inconvenience of the cast, skin problems, and occasionally radial sensory nerve numbness. A known issue with casting is that the rate of secondary dislocation is high. As an alternative to casts, personalized 3D-printed braces are increasingly used. This review provides an inventory of current developments and experience with 3D-printed forearm braces. Main focus was on the design requirements, materials used, technical requirements, and preclinical and clinical results. Review of 12 studies showed that all printed braces used an open design. Fused Deposition Modelling is most commonly used 3D-printing technique (seven studies) and polylactic acid is the most commonly used material (five studies). Clinical evaluation was done in six studies, mainly involving distal radius fractures, and generally showed a low complication rate and high patient satisfaction with the printed brace. Whether or not the results obtained with 3D-printed braces are superior to results after casting requires further studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This paper is part of a supplement supported by the Osteosynthesis and Trauma Care Foundation (OTCF) though a research grant from Stryker.
Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s)