March 09, 2016

3D Printed Masks to Protect Athletes with Nose or Facial Fractures

Mask and Image Made by Technology in Motion
Over the past few years, the medical 3D printing technology has exploded with researchers being able to print a new ear, trachea, and even the skull to implant into patients. However, a more common application of medical 3D printing technology is to create custom, form-fitting facial protection masks for athletes who have suffered from facial and/or nasal fractures. With such protection, an athlete could potentially resume play within weeks rather than being out for the rest of the season.

Of course, generic nasal fracture masks have been around for over a decade and can be purchased on Amazon, but for facial and or jaw fractures, custom masks are required given there are too many variables for a viable generic mask because the fracture could be located anywhere affecting where the pressure points and protection needs to be located.

Unfortunately, custom facial protection masks for athletic use is not typically covered by insurance and can be quite expensive. Here are a few companies who offer custom facial protection masks for athletic use:

Cavendish Imaging
Technology In Motion

If there are others, please comment below so they can be added!

However, handmade (rather than 3D printed) masks can also be made by any local experienced and certified prosthetist/orthotist.

You can find a prosthetist/orthotist using a directory maintained by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, & Pedorthotics.

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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