Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing systems have been adapted for specific use in prosthetics, providing practitioners with a means to digitally capture the shape of a patient’s limb, modify the socket model using software, and automatically manufacture either a positive model to be used in the fabrication of a socket or the socket itself. The digital shape captured is a three-dimensional (3-D) model from which standard anthropometric measures can be easily obtained. This study recorded six common anthropometric dimensions from CAD shape files of three foam positive models of the residual limbs of persons with transtibial amputations. Two systems were used to obtain 3-D models of the residual limb, a noncontact optical system and a contact-based electromagnetic field system, and both experienced practitioners and prosthetics students conducted measurements. Measurements were consistent; the mean range (difference of maximum and minimum) across all measurements was 0.96 cm. Both systems provided similar results, and both groups used the systems consistently. Students were slightly more consistent than practitioners but not to a clinically significant degree. Results also compared favorably with traditional measurement, with differences versus hand measurements about 5 mm. These results suggest the routine use of digital shape capture for collection of patient volume information.
Geil MD. Consistency, precision, and accuracy of optical and electromagnetic shape-capturing systems for digital measurement of residual-limb anthropometrics of persons with transtibial amputation. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 44(4), 515-524, 2007.