What Is The Difference Between 3D Scanning and 3D Bracing?

In orthotics and scoliosis management, 3D scanning and 3D bracing have revolutionised how healthcare professionals obtain accurate measurements and design customised devices. Both technologies leverage the power of digital imaging, but they serve distinct purposes. 

Enhancing Orthotic Design and Scoliosis Management, this blog covers the difference between 3D scanning and 3D bracing. Let’s delve into the intricacies of 3D scanning and 3D bracing, understanding their advantages and how they contribute to improved patient outcomes.

What is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning, as a cutting-edge innovation, enables precise digital measurement of body parts without harmful radiation or laser light. It finds extensive application in designing and manufacturing orthotic devices, such as custom foot orthotics/insoles, spinal braces, and various supportive or corrective aids. Unlike traditional methods like physical measurements or plaster casts, 3D scanning provides Orthotists with a replica of the patient or the relevant body part to facilitate accurate orthosis design.

The primary advantage of 3D scanning lies in its ability to preserve and duplicate the initial image indefinitely. Once the scan is completed and saved, Orthotists can manipulate the duplicate copy as needed to create a device that meets the specific design and functional requirements. 

Design software often incorporates simulation capabilities, enabling practitioners to assess the desired effect of the orthotic device on the patient model. If the simulated product falls short, the design can be easily modified or recreated using the original scan model. Moreover, the 3D scan can be archived for future reference, allowing follow-up scans to evaluate progress or compare outcomes.

What is 3D Bracing?

On the other hand, 3D bracing represents a concept that acknowledges the three-dimensional nature of idiopathic scoliosis. Traditionally, scoliosis treatment focused primarily on the two-dimensional aspects of the condition, often neglecting the crucial transverse plane of the deformity. However, an extensive body of peer-reviewed literature consistently supports the superior outcomes achieved by implementing a 3D bracing approach compared to conventional 2D bracing methods.

It’s important to note that merely conducting a 3D scan does not automatically result in a 3D brace. To effectively address the three-dimensional complexities of idiopathic scoliosis, healthcare practitioners must deeply understand the condition’s intricacies. They need to assess and confirm that all three dimensions of the scoliosis are appropriately managed and addressed by the 3D brace. If not, the practitioner must apply their knowledge and experience to optimise or modify the brace design or potentially remake it all together. This underscores the advantage of storing a 3D scan, as it allows for easy reference and modification as needed.

Patients should be aware that undergoing a 3D scan does not guarantee the production of a 3D brace. It is crucial to consult with a practitioner who can confirm whether they employ the 3D scanner to obtain an accurate image and whether that image will be utilised for creating a 3D brace or a conventional 2D device/brace. Transparent communication with the healthcare provider ensures alignment between patient expectations and treatment approaches.

Significant Advancements in Orthotics and Scoliosis Management

In conclusion, 3D scanning and 3D bracing are significant advancements in orthotics and scoliosis management. 3D scanning facilitates precise measurements and enhanced orthotic design, while 3D bracing recognises the multidimensional nature of idiopathic scoliosis for improved treatment outcomes. 

By harnessing these technologies, healthcare professionals can tailor interventions to each patient’s specific needs, maximising the potential for successful outcomes and enhanced quality of life.

You can also read: “Comparison Studies of 2D Vs 3D Scoliosis Bracing.”