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FlexiOH: Next Generation Orthopedic immobilization for Bone fractures and Musculo-skeletal injuries

we have developed most comfortable and safe Orthopedic cast ever!

Photo of Pankajkumar Chhatrala
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What challenges or opportunities are you trying to address within the problem? (200 characters or less)

We have developed next generation orthopedic cast technology, FlexiOH, that is safer, more comfortable, Washable, breathable, lightweight and customization unlike conventional POP or synthetic cast.

Currently it is estimated that over 200 million people worldwide suffer from this Osteoporosis. Approximately 30% of all postmenopausal women have osteoporosis in the United States and in Europe. At least 40% of these women and 15-30% of men will sustain one or more fragility fractures in their remaining lifetime.  

Most of the fragility / osteoporosis fractures are treated by Cast immobilization for period of 4-8 weeks which may extent longer in case of Osteoporosis due lo lake of mineralization. The function of a cast is to immobilize an injured bone or joint until it gains enough strength for normal movements by physiological healing process. The cast most often used consists of layers of fabric and cotton padding tape wrapped around the limb. Current major problems with existing cast are that they are not allow skin to breathe results in excessive sweating, discomfort and itching under cast.  Because of these problems, patient feels it very uncomfortable. Parts of the cast such as POP material, Padding are sensitive to moisture that makes bathing, swimming and other activities difficult and /or impossible for the wearer. Further difficulties may be experienced in the ability for casts in adjusting to accommodate for swelling. Poor visibility to the skin underneath the cast can lead to complications such as unnoticed infections, swelling and complicated wound.

To summarize problems of conventional cast i.e PoP or Synthetic Glass fiber cast

Poor breathability: almost all cast immobilization being used currently are not allowing air circulation under cast. As a result, patient suffers from perspiration under the cast and itching.

Non – washability: sensitivity of casting and/or padding material to moisture restricts patient’s routine activity such as bathing, swimming, and working with water or wet conditions. Over the period of time patient may suffer from poor skin hygiene due to inability to wash it routinely.

Bulky and heavy: Specifically Plaster of Paris cast is heavy and bulky. In addition to that POP captures moisture and becomes heavier if it comes in contact with humid climate or water. POP cast is a troublesome in many situations such as hand movements especially in pediatric patient.

Poor visibility to skin under cast: either POP or Glass fiber cast, there is poor visibility to skin under cast. Many times, there is unnoticed skin/wound infection under cast or complication such as compartment syndrome. In such case patient may suffer severe consequences and even disability.

Application and removal of the cast: Application process of cast is vary from 30-45 mins. Most of time is consumed in preparation and setting of the materials (i.e. POP or Glass fiber resin). During removal of the cast auto tool is being used to cut the cast. There are few evidence of iatrogenic injuries during removal of the cast especially in Glass fiber cast.

Let us explain how we have solved above problem with our next Generation orthopedic immobilization, FlexiOH.

FlexiOH™ is having multiple holes through which skin can breathe and stays dry and clean throughout the duration of cast application.

FlexiOH™ is made up of materials which are absolutely washable. There is no padding material required because FlexiOH™ is adaptable to contour of body part. Hence patient will have complete freedom for routine activities such as bathing and swimming.

Current design of FlexiOH™ -short arm is weighing less than 300 grams compared to currently use POP cast weighting ~1000-1500 grams.

Having multiple holes in FlexiOH™ , Patient can see skin through Cast and can contact doctor if find some abnormal i.e. exudate, pus, Swelling etc

FlexiOH™ is having application time of 10-15 mins. Hence application process would take less time. FlexiOH™ can removed simply by cutting through cutline by scissor.  Hence less chance of iatrogenic injury during removal process.

Who is your target end user and why will they be interested? (650 characters or less)

Orthopedic cast is one of the gold standard for osteoporosis fractures. in such cases

How is your idea scaleable? (650 characters or less)

Currently at pilot scale, we have manufacturing capacity of 3500 pieces/months (modules). we have designed our production capacity in modules so we can upscale production to any number by scaling up modules. At beginning in small qty production cost is higher but cost will gradually comedown as we scale up. Apart from that we have also considered environmental impact during design. FlexiOH is completely recyclable unlike POP or synthetic cast that produces huge biomedical-waste

What do/will you measure to know if your solution worked? (500 characters or less)

-Better skin hygiene -reduces skin related side-effects i.e. skin infection, pressure sore ulcer, skin abrasions due to cast rough surface -better patient compliance -more convenient for day to day activity after cast application

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

If you were to become a Top Idea, would you want to actively participate in piloting your idea?

  • I want my idea piloted, and I prefer to do my own piloting in collaboration with the health system and with assistance from the Challenge partner
  • I want my idea piloted, but I’d prefer not to be involved in the pilot and prefer that the health system adopts my idea for piloting with assistance from the Challenge partner

Company / Organization Name, if applicable (140 characters or less)


Website (if applicable)

Tell us about yourself or your team (500 characters or less)

we are Team of 14 people which includes Doctor, PhDs, engineer,designer and management discipline. Dr. Pankaj has started a journey as part of academic research and after graduation he has started a company named JC OrthoHeal private Limited in order to do further research and development with his wife as co-founder. over period of next 3 years Dr. Pankaj has scaled up team of very dynamic and young 14 people who is empathetic to patients in Orthopedics.

Location (50 characters)

currently we are based in Vadodara, Gujarat, India

What is your legal / organizational structure?

  • We are a For-Profit Startup or Startup Social Enterprise

Innovator/Organizational Characteristics

  • Youth-led organization

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • Direct email invitation


Join the conversation:

Photo of Manisha Laroia

Hi Pankajkumar Chhatrala 
Thank you for being a part of the Ideas Phase of the Healthy Bones Challenge.
Great work! Love the user videos.
Please make any last minute tweaks you wish to, asap. Like adding images or changes in text.
The DEADLINE for idea submission is Wednesday July 3rd, 2019 5pm PST.

A CHECKLIST to guide you is here:
Please make sure your idea does the following:
1) Clearly define the problem
2) Connects to at least one opportunity area
3) States how & when user accesses the solution
4) Tells the story

Let me know if you need anything.
All the best for the next phase of the challenge.

OpenIDEO Challenge Team

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