UK Heart Patient Undergoes Rare Surgery for 3D Printed Titanium Sternum

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A Fleetwood, Lancashire woman in the UK is enjoying better health today, able to perform daily tasks at home, not flinching when she coughs or sneezes—but best of all, she is now able to hug her one-year-old granddaughter. All this progress is due to a 3D printed implant fitted and inserted by surgeon, Dr. Ehab Bishay, at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

The 52-year-old patient, Linda Edwards, had been suffering for years with angina, but even after surgery, she suffered further complications as her breastbone became extremely fragile.

After her chest plate collapsed twice post-surgery, it was obvious another solution was needed—but without anything to attach another metal plate to, her previous doctors were running out of options; however, Linda had watched a documentary featuring Dr. Bishay’s work, and she made contact with him after finding him on social media.

Although she was told she would need to ‘apply’ to have the surgery both for funding and to be cleared for the operation, she steadfastly did so and waited two years to have her 3D printed sternum implanted by Dr. Bishay—making her case the third in Britain (and fifth internationally) to undergo such a procedure.

Scan shows Ms Edwards’ ‘collapsed’ sternum before she underwent the operation

“I woke up from the operation feeling terrible and, at one point, I thought I had died, but I am feeling better every day,” she said, also mentioning that the doctors told her to take it easy and even joked with her about not falling over because she had so much money’s worth of metal in her body to protect now.

“I still feel numb because I am on a lot of drugs, but the main thing is my ribcage doesn’t keep shifting about,” explained Linda. “It feels incredible I have had an operation as advanced as this. I feel like I’ve got my life back.

“It’s priceless. I can hold my granddaughter and that’s the best feeling in the world.”

 

Dr. Bishay and his team were able to open Linda’s chest again while being careful to avoid any trauma to the previous bypass area or her heart.

“It’s fantastic to see Mrs. Edwards is doing extraordinarily well given the complexity of the procedure she has undergone,” said Dr. Bishay. “My team and I removed Mrs. Edward’s original breastbone and inserted the custom-built prosthesis.

“The plastic surgery team, led by Mr. Haitham Khalil, harvested several muscle flaps to cover all the extensive components of the prosthesis, a fundamental step in this operation,” continued Dr. Bishay. “Fortunately, complications such as those experienced by Mrs. Edward’s following previous heart surgery are rare but are notoriously difficult to manage.”

While 3D printing is an amazing technology spawning countless, fascinating inventions, we would still be going a bit far to say such processes have changed the world; they have, however, changed the lives of many patients already, worldwide—with some receiving chest implants and titanium 3D printed sternums, and even composite sternums and rib cages. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

 

Linda Edwards, and her granddaughter, Sienna

[Source / Images: Daily Mail]

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