Recovery after surgery can be slow. A 3D printed neck brace can help speed recovery.
Some cancer patients need surgery to remove lymph nodes from their necks to help prevent the spread of the disease in their bodies. After the procedure, many patients experience stiffness and reduced mobility that can last for years. Physical therapy can help, but doctors don’t have a reliable way to evaluate neck movement, which is necessary to determine the right type of treatment. Researchers at Columbia have built a robotic neck brace that uses 3D printing and inexpensive sensors to create a system that evaluates patient mobility with precision. This information could help doctors track a patient’s recovery, detect subtle changes as they develop, and determine which sort of physical therapy would be most effective in speeding recovery after the surgery. This is just one more example how digital health tech is creating personalized medical care based on specific individual needs.