Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I 3D print a check socket that takes more than 30 minutes to print when I can pull a check socket quickly?

The primary reason is efficiency. The level of effort to cast the patient, mix then pour plaster to fit the cast, remove from cast, then modify plaster model is significant relative to scanning to acquire the shape of the patient’s limb then modifying digitally. The plaster approach to check sockets can require 2-3 hours of labor vs the digital approach typically requires 15-30 minutes. Once the print starts, little labor is required to fabricate the check socket. Post-processing effort for 3D printed check sockets is similar to plaster-based fabrications (grind trim lines, drill holes, attach components, etc.)

I see value in 3D printing check sockets, but we are too busy to contemplate the introduction of new technology into our practice currently.

Solution level training and support makes getting started fast and straight forward. Training options include live, instructor-led training and online self-paced training to make it easy to get practitioners trained quickly. Many practices have been able to deploy the PVA Med 3D Solution and become proficient within days of receiving their training, all with minimal disruption to the practice.

Are 3D printed check sockets safe to perform dynamic fittings on patients?

This concern with 3D printed check sockets is valid and pervasive. To offer a stronger check socket, PVA Med developed the patent pending WalkStrong™ check socket that is reinforced in areas where traditionally 3D printed checks socket failed. This allows prosthetists to fit patients with 3D printed check sockets without the need to fiberglass reinforce them, resulting in reduced time and material use, and better visibility of the distal aspect of the patient’s limb.

What is wrong with buying a 3D printer and figuring this out on our own?

This approach can work for those with ample spare time and strong interest in tinkering with things. We have found that many lose interest before they are able to come up with a solution that produces the results needed. Others underestimate the effort to select the components necessary and then integrate them to work well together. Support can be difficult to manage leaving users with the need to identify which component(s) are causing the issue then work with their supplier(s) to resolve. This is why PVA Med provides a fully integrated solution and we provide support for the lifetime of the device.

What is the best way to get started with 3D printing check sockets?

We recommend that each practice start by learning to scan. This does not require a large investment and is the first step in the workflow digital fabrication of check sockets. For a little over a thousand dollars, it is possible to obtain a scanner and app that can be used to get high quality scans that can be then be used to design high quality check sockets, all without plaster dust! Having 3D scans of the patient limb is a great way to track limb progression over time and can be used to document medical necessity.

How does one go from a 3D printed check socket whose shape and volume have been verified through a dynamic fitting with the patient, to a definitive socket?
  1. Fill check socket with plaster to create a lamination mold
  2. Laminate over the check socket – incorporate check socket into the definitive
  3. Use positive model to carve a lamination mold
  4. Use digital model to send to CFab for traditional fabrication
  5. Use digital model to 3D print a definitive (i.e. MFJ)
What devices support the Comb Scanning App?

The Comb App uses the front facing camera built into the iPhone X and most newer models, so there is no additional hardware needed to capture a scan.

Comb is compatible with the following devices:

  • iPhone® 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone® 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone® XR, XS, XS Max
  • iPhone® X
  • iPad Pro® 12.9″ (3rd-4th generation)
  • iPad Pro® 11″ (1st-2nd generation)

For more information about the Comb Scanning App, please visit their website.