3D Printing Gives Cancer Patient New Ribs and Sternum in First-of-Its-Kind Surgery

Share this Article

ribsStories of 3D printing being used to create custom medical implants are becoming more and more commonplace. However, there’s something so akin to a miracle in the way that the implants are created and in the powerful impact on those who receive them that it will be a while yet before we are jaded enough to not consider these stories news.

The most recent 3D printed implant to garner international attention comes out of Australia and into the body of a 54-year-old Spanish cancer patient. The patient was suffering from a chest wall sarcoma that necessitated the removal of his sternum as well as a portion of his rib cage. Once removed, these bones would have to be replaced with a titanium implant, which created a new set of problems that needed to be addressed.

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 3.25.49 PMThe medical team at Salamanca University Hospital in Spain began to examine the possibilities for 3D printing the implant rather than relying on traditional fabrication methods. Creating the implant with 3D printing offered several advantages, not least of which were the ability to completely customize the implant, do so relatively quickly, and to create a design that would counter some of the problems historically present in flat titanium implant design.

While the sternum and rib cage compose a very complex system, 3D printing is set up to tackle just this sort of difficulty. Using Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 3.26.12 PMinformation gathered from scans of the patient’s body, Australian medical device company Anatomics was called in to create the implant that was needed in conjunction with the Spanish medical team. To print the implant, they turned to the metal 3D printing facilities, called Lab 22, that the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) had opened in Victoria this past May.

In a statement issued by Salamanca University Hospital, Dr. José Aranda, a doctor involved in the procedure, explained their relationship with the Australian company:

“We thought, maybe we could create a new type of implant that we could fully customize to replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs. We wanted to provide a safer option for our patient, and improve their recover post-surgery.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 3.26.42 PMThe implant was created using an Arcam 3D printer in Lab 22 which uses electron beam melting to build up layers of titanium power and melt them together. Once the fusing process is complete, extra powder is vacuumed away, leaving the fully formed implant ready to be cleaned and used in surgery. Alex Kingsbury, Additive Manufacturing Research Leader at CSIRO, demonstrated the implant in a video released to the public (watch it above), and showed its unique design, meant to accommodate the end pieces of the remaining rib bone and be screwed into place. Even more importantly, the patient who received the implant has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering well.

Let us know you thoughts on yet another awesome use of 3D printing within the medical field.  Discuss in the 3D Printed Ribs and Sternum forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Sternum original

 

 

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

3D Printing with SPEE3D: It’s About Standard Parts and Low Costs, Not Sophistication

Barcelona Campus: HP Inc. Opens 3D Printing and Digital Manufacturing Center of Excellence



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Interview with Jasamine Coles-Black: Benefits of 3D Printed Models in Vascular Surgery

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization estimated the total global volume of operations to be 312.9 million. That could probably mean that in our lifetime, a lot of us...

Rapid 2019: Interview with Karl Lindblom & Annika Ölme of GE’s Arcam

Arcam built upon Sweden’s resources and history in high-performance metals to commercialize EBM. Electron Beam Melting also called EPBF or Electron Powder Bed Fusion is a process where an electron...

A Window Into the Brain: Transparent 3D Printed Mouse Skulls for Alzheimer’s Research

There’s a long way to go to understanding the brain. So many questions remain unanswered, yet so much research is being done, like the former U.S. administration’s ambitious project, which...

Spanish Company BRECA Health Care is at the Forefront of Medical Devices & Bioprinting

In 2018 Spain’s health care system ranked third in the world, behind Hong Kong and Singapore, and first in Europe according to a Bloomberg study, so it’s no wonder that...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!