“For me, it’s a scenario of no cure without 3D printing,” said the patient, Mr. Yuan.
While grateful to be alive, Mr. Yuan is also extremely happy to be walking again after going through a very difficult time with his health. After doctors found a malignant tumor on his spine, they were forced to take aggressive action as is often the case, removing both the tumor and a huge portion of his backbone with it. While these measures are taken so that the patient is not consumed by cancer, the repercussions can be devastating, as someone may find themselves alive and tumor-free but, as in Mr. Yuan’s case, unable to use their legs.
The team responsible for Mr. Yuan’s recent progress was led by Dr. Liu Zhongjun, chief orthopedics surgeon at Beijing Third University Hospital. He decided to fabricate 3D printed mesh tubes that would eventually allow for the normal growth of spinal tissues around them.
With five vertebrae being removed, the team 3D printed the patient-specific 3D printed implant at 7.5 inches long (19 cm). It is constructed of a titanium mesh—and even more amazing, although this is an artificial device, it will encourage Yuan’s spinal cord to grow back, with the mesh biodegrading over time.
“The titanium mesh tube can be any length, even shorter than 19 centimetres,” Dr. Zhongjun explained. “3D printing can produce implants of whatever size and shape. Our prognosis is that the patient will have a full recovery.”
3D printing and the availability of progressive new implants is allowing for changes in procedures like spinal fusion surgery too, with a German patient receiving a 3D printed titanium fusion implant, and a toddler last year even receiving a 3D printed titanium skull replacement.
Applications like this, offering what certainly seem like miraculous opportunities in the medical field, are a substantial part of why the push is strong to employ and refine 3D printing in metal, as well as performing considerable research and development to offer materials like titanium. Global companies like K2M Group have created entire systems centered around 3D printed titanium spinal implants, as well as newer companies like New Jersey-based Additive Orthopaedics, dedicated to using 3D printing to make implants and parts for the extremities. Researchers in Singapore are even experimenting with combining 3D printing metal powders and mixing alloys to produce better titanium products.
In China, approvals have been coming swiftly in the area of 3D printing technology with approval by the China Food and Drug Administration, as well as more specific approval for items like 3D printed spinal sections for medical applications having been passed on May 6. This recent spinal implant procedure was the first successful procedure of its kind in the country. Because this patient responded so well with the implantation of the 3D printed medical device, walking just days afterward, Dr. Zhongjun is certain they will be performing similar surgeries in the future. Discuss this latest medical news over in the 3D Printed Medical Implant Allows Man to Walk forum over at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: Global News]
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
Materialise Expands Jaw Surgeries with End-to-End Medical 3D Printing Treatment
Imagine the discomfort of experiencing pain every time you eat, or the constant radiating pain in your head due to this condition—it would be incredibly distressing. One reason why joint...
Navigating China’s 3D Printing Industry in 2024
China’s 2024 economic landscape presents a complex matrix of challenges and opportunities, deeply influenced by the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, regulatory adjustments, and the global economic environment. Amid these...
3D Printing News Briefs, February 17, 2024: Shot Blasting, Service Bureaus, & More
In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re starting out with post-processing, as SKZ Würzburg is using a shot blast system from AM Solutions for its research. Moving on to business,...
Farsoon Expands U.S. 3D Printing Presence with Additive Plus Partnership on the West Coast
As members of China’s additive manufacturing (AM) sector expand further into the West, one of the nation’s leading firms, Farsoon Technologies, has announced a strategic partnership with Additive Plus. This...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.