Novel Material for Conformable Splints
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Splints are a common therapeutic aid used in the rehabilitation of numerous injuries and diseases. Conservative estimates place the number of splints used each year in the multiple millions in the US alone. Often, the splints are custom-made for the patient at a rehabilitation clinic by a trained physical or occupation therapist. Frequently, dynamic splints are used. These splints have a better clinical outcome if fitted properly. Problems arise, however, in that it is often difficult to achieve a proper fit. Considerable time is needed to fit a conformable splint properly, and in the case of dynamic splints, to revisit the fit of the splint as the therapy progresses, and to fix any problems that arise out of normal wear and tear of the splint. Patient compliance is also an issue due to the bulk and complexity of certain splints. We propose a novel braided composite material for conformable splints that can alleviate the problems identified. The material can be formed using standard procedures. The braided material, however, can be made thinner and lighter than the current thermoplastic materials that are standard in modern conformable splints. In addition, the individual fibers within the composite material will allow for easier fitting to body parts, including complex areas such as the hand and wrist. The material can easily form itself around bony prominences, and be spread apart to make openings for fingers. Peripherals, such as those needed in dynamic splints, can be easily attached securely to the new material, and readily removed and repositioned if necessary, with no deterioration in the shape or strength of the finished splint. During the Phase I, we will construct and develop the material for hand and wrist applications. The hand and wrist are chosen as they exhibit a high rate of injury, with a high degree of chronic problems if problems arise with the splint or patient compliance. We will also construct sample attachments for the material, and test the strength of both the material and the pullout strength of the attachments. We will conduct fit tests to study the avoidance of pressure sores and obtain clinician feedback on such parameters as ease of use. We will also obtain feedback from licensed therapists about the material, which will help finetune our study for further development. The team assembled for this work is comprised of biomedical device engineers, biomaterials and composite engineers, and licensed hand therapists. The team will work in close collaboration to realize the specific aims of this project for further development in Phase II.
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INFOSCITEX CORPORATION 303 BEAR HILL RD WALTHAM, MA 02451
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