Real Leaders

3D Printed Casts for Broken Limbs

Brazilian healthtech startup Fix has developed a new cast for fixing broken limbs that is 3D-printed and biodegradable.

Made from environmentally friendly bioplastic — beetroot, sugarcane, and corn pulp — the web-like design lets the skin breathe, meaning less sweating and itching from traditional plaster casts, and it can also get wet without damage.

Once you’re healed and ready to dispose of it, the cast will biodegrade in 9 months and can be used as compost or fertilizer. Plaster casts are made from petroleum products and are tough to dispose of without creating environmental harm. Fix makes 30 different styles for fingers, wrists, and shoulders and has eliminated the need for 2.5 tons of plaster serving more than 4,000 patients.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, hospitals produce 4.4% of global greenhouse emissions. With many seeking to improve their medical waste recycling, this sector is primed for innovation.

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