Journal of Medical Systems

, 43:284 | Cite as

Lightweight Splint Design for Individualized Treatment of Distal Radius Fracture

  • Wei Yan
  • Mao Ding
  • Bo Kong
  • XiaoBing XiEmail author
  • Mingdong ZhouEmail author
Systems-Level Quality Improvement
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Systems-Level Quality Improvement


A systematic design approach is proposed for medical splints for individualized treatment of the distal radius fracture. An initial split structural model is first constructed by 3D scanning of an injured limb. Based on the biomechanical theory and clinical experiences, the topology optimization method is applied to design the splint structure. The optimized lightweight splint is realized by additive manufacturing using polylactic acid. Compared to the traditional designs for the distal radius fracture, the optimized design by the proposed approach exhibits a weight reduction of more than 40%. Besides, the mechanical properties of the splint meet the requirements of medical treatment according to the simulation results. Numerical examples are provided to demonstrate the applicability of the approach.


Lightweight splint Distal radius fracture Topology optimization Individualized treatment 



This work is supported by the Key Project of the Medical-Engineering Cross Research Foundation of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Grant No.YG2015ZD02), the Key Scientific Research Project of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning (Grant No.201640021), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51705311) and the State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration of Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Grant No. MSVZD201709).


  1. 1.
    Nellans, K. W., MD, M. P. H., Evan Kowalski, B. S., and Chung, K. C., The epidemiology of distal radius fractures. Hand Clin 28(2):113–125, 2012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Delasobera, B. E., Place, R., Howell, J., and Davis, J. E., Serious infectious complications related to extremity cast/splint placement in children. J Emerg Med 41(1):47–50, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Inglis, M. R. B., McClelland, B., Sutherland, L. M., and Cundy, P. J., Synthetic versus plaster of Paris casts in the treatment of fractures of the forearm in children. A randomised trial of clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Bone Joint J 95b(9):1285–1289, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bani, M. A., and Arazpour, M., The effect of custom-made splints in patients with the first carpometacarpal joint osteoarthritis. Original Research Report 37(2):139–144, 2012.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Blaya, F., San Pedro Orozco, P., Lopez-Silva, J., and D’Amato, R., Design of an Orthopedic Product by using additive manufacturing technology: The arm splint. J Med Syst 42(3):54, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Palousek, D., Rosicky, J., Koutny, D., Stoklásek, P., and Navrat, T., Pilot study of the wrist orthosis design process. Rapid Prototyping Journal 20(1):27–32, 2014. Scholar
  7. 7.
    Huang, T.-H., Feng, C.-K., Gung, Y.-W., Tsai, M.-W., Chen, C.-S., and Liu, C.-L., Optimization design of thumbspica splint using finite element method. Med Biol Eng Comput 44(12):1105–1111, 2006. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bendsøe, M. P., and Kikuchi, N., Generating optimal topologies in structural design using a homogenization method. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering 71(2):197–224, 1988. Scholar
  9. 9.
    Allaire, G., Jouve, F., and Maillot, H., Topology optimization for minimum stress design with the homogenization method. Struct Multidiscip O 28(2–3):87–98, 2004.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Guo, L.-X., and Yin, J.-Y., Finite element analysis and design of an interspinous device using topology optimization. Med Biol Eng Comput 57(1):89–98, 2019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Remouchamps, A., Bruyneel, M., Fleury, C., and Grihon, S., Application of a bi-level scheme including topology optimization to the design of an aircraft pylon. Struct Multidiscip O 44(6):739–750, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhang, W., and Sun, S., Scale-related topology optimization of cellular materials and structures. Int J Numer Meth Eng 68(9):993–1011, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Deaton, J. D., and Grandhi, R. V., A survey of structural and multidisciplinary continuum topology optimization: Post 2000. Struct Multidiscip O 49(1):1–38, 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Guo, X., and Cheng, G.-D., Recent development in structural design and optimization. Acta Mech Sinica-Prc 26(6):807–823, 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Sigmund, O., and Maute, K., Topology optimization approaches. A comparative review. Struct Multidiscip O 48(6):1031–1055, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Zhou, M., and YuWang, M., Engineering feature design for level set based structural optimization. Computer Aided Design 45(12):1524–1537, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zhou, M., Lazarov, B. S., Wang, F., and Sigmund, O., Minimum length scale in topology optimization by geometric constraints. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering 293:266–282, 2015, 2015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Liao, Y.-C., Feng, C.-K., Tsai, M., and Chen, C.-S., Shape modification of the Boston brace using a finite-element method with topology optimization. Spine 32(26):3014–3019, 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cazon, A., and Kelly, S., Analysis and comparison of wrist splint designs using the finite element method: Multi-material three-dimensional printing compared to typical existing practice with thermoplastics. Engineering in Medicine 231(9):881–897, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Yan-Jun Chen, H., Lin, X., Zhang, W., Huang, L. S., and Wang, D., Application of 3D-printed and patient-specific cast for the treatment of distal radius fractures: Initial experience. 3D Print Med 3(1):11, 2017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Huang, T.-H., Feng, C.-K., Gung, Y.-W., Tsai, M.-W., Chen, C.-S., and Liu, C.-L., Optimization design of thumbspica splint using finite element method. Med Biol Eng Comput 44(12):1105–1111, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Hughes, T. J. R., The Finite Element Method: Linear Static and Dynamic Finite Element Analysis, 2000.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Bendsøe, M. P., Sigmund, O., Topology Optimization Theory, Methods, and Applications, 2004.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Bendsøe, M. P., Optimal shape design as a material distribution problem. Struct Multidisc Optim 1(4):193–202, 1989.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Svanberg, K., The method of moving asymptotes—A new method for structural optimization. Int J Numer Methods Eng 24(2):359–373, 1987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Traumatology, Shanghai Ruijin HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Key Laboratory for Bone and Joint Diseases, Shanghai Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedics, Shanghai Ruijin HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Mechanical System and Vibration, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Digital Manufacture for Thin-walled Structures, Department of Mechanical EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations