Spanish doctors implant 3D printed rib cage and sternum inside a cancer patient
3D printing has lately played a very important role in medical science, to be particular in saving lives of people and giving them a new reason to enjoy it to the fullest. Good example of 3D printing saving someone’s live include a 3D printed skull for a patient suffering from chronic bone disease. The latest instance is the implant of a 3D printed rib cage and sternum inside a 54-year old Spanish cancer patient who had sarcoma tumor removed from his chest and major part of ribs too at the Salamanca University Hospital.
The 3D printed body parts were printed in Australia and then shipped to Spain for the implant
After this tumor removal the doctors contacted Australian medical device company Anatomics to make a titanium implant of the patient’s rib cage and sternum. To make the body parts Anatomics took help of CSIRO who 3D printed the parts at their facility in Clayton with the Arcam electron beam metal 3D printer that costs a whooping USD $ 920,000. This marked a major breakthrough in surgery as before this the doctors had to reply on flat and plate implants that used screws for fixation and caused complication in the long run.
Before 3D printing, Anatomics had to figure out the exact design for the rigid sternal core and flexible titanium rods that matched the patient’s anatomy. Once everything was designed and tested in virtual environment, the go ahead to 3D print the rib cage and sternum was given a go ahead. Thereafter the 3D printed body parts were shipped to Spain and doctors at Salamanca performed the successful surgery.