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3D Printed Shoulder Implant Helps Patient Move Forward After Shooting Tragedy

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While we usually depend on research scientists and doctors to come forth with innovative treatment methods, sometimes the patients are the ones who come up with the plan—and especially after being turned away time and time again when trying to find a way back to some sort of normality.

Nathalie Dufaut Danjon is a perfect example of a patient willing to take the innovative route in order to improve her health. One of numerous unsuspecting victims shot by a relative at a wedding two years ago, Danjon sustained a serious shoulder injury. Her father-in-law was distraught over his impending divorce and used a hunting shotgun to attack family and friends, killing six and wounding others.

Nathalie’s injured shoulder

Danjon was in great pain after the accident, and also lost mobility in the injured shoulder and arm. She was forced to make a huge adjustment in her life as suddenly she was not able to make a bed or hold her children as she used to. Although one surgeon after another told her there was little that could be done in terms of a standard implant, Danjon pressed on, consulting with 12 surgeons in 6 months. Eventually, she began exploring the idea of a 3D printed prosthetic.

“3D Printing is [a] gadget, a work in progress. It’s not something for you,” she was told originally.

She had great faith that eventually she would find a solution though, and upon meeting Prof. Narcisse Zwetyenga, Danjon’s luck did begin to change. Zwetyenga, a maxillofacial surgeon at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Dijon, France, he referred Danjon to an orthopedic shoulder surgeon on his team, Dr. Brice Viard. On examining her shoulder, Dr. Viard realized that there was little chance of helping Danjon with traditional treatment.

“The patient’s humerus had no proximal articular surface and was severely deformed,” he explains.

Dr. Viard

Loose bone fragments were attached to muscle and membrane, with so much destruction to the inner shoulder that Dr. Viard saw little hope for reconstruction surgery.

“Standard implants are designed for a standard population,” said Dr. Viard. “In non-standard cases, like this patient, good reconstruction is not possible with standard implants. It wasn’t possible to attach it to the bone of the scapula.”

Dr. Viard was still able to give Nathalie new hope, stating that the assistance from Materialise was invaluable.

 “The contact with the engineers was very hands on and we could work step by step to create an implant that was realistic for this specific surgery,” said Dr. Viard.

In demonstrating the position of the implants, Viard points out that they are on the humeral and glenoid sides.

“It’s a reverse shoulder prosthesis,” he says.

The procedure was successful and Nathalie continues to do well. While Viard will be looking toward more long-term results to truly evaluate the success of the implant, Nathalie is very happy with the results so far and has regained mobility in her shoulder.

“This creates reconstruction possibilities for the future, with better conditions and better results,” said Dr. Viard.

Learn more about this case from Materialise:

What do you think of this application for 3D printing? Let us know your thoughts! Please join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source:  Materialise / Images: Materialise via YouTube]

 

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