3D Printed Chest Implant Helps Save Cancer Patient

Sunday, September 13, 2015

3D Printed Chest Implant Helps Save Cancer Patient


3D printing technology has helped save a Spanish cancer patient, who received a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib cage.

A cancer patient in Spain has received a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib cage that looks like a part from the T-800 cyborg.

Suffering from a chest wall sarcoma (a type of cancerous tumor that grows, in this instance, around the rib cage), the 54 year old man needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced. This part of the chest is notoriously tricky to recreate with prosthetics, due to the complex geometry and design required for each patient.

3D Printed Chest Implant Helps Save Cancer Patient

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    So the patient’s surgical team determined that a fully customized 3D printed sternum and rib cage was the best option.That’s when they turned to Melbourne, Australia-based medical device company Anatomics, who designed and manufactured the implant.

    Twelve days after the surgery the patient was discharged and has recovered well.

    This isn’t the first time surgeons have turned the human body into a titanium masterpiece. Thoracic surgeons typically use flat and plate implants for the chest. However, these can come loose over time and increase the risk of complications. The patient’s surgical team at the Salamanca University Hospital thought a fully customised 3D printed implant could replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs, providing a safer option for the patient.

    Using high resolution CT data, the Anatomics team was able to create a 3D reconstruction of the chest wall and tumour, allowing the surgeons to plan and accurately define resection margins. 

    A typical 3D printer like the MakerBot Replicator wasn't really adequate for this work. Instead, we relied on our $1.3 million Arcam printer to build up the implant layer-by-layer with its electron beam, resulting in a brand new implant which was promptly couriered to Spain.

    The advantage of 3D printing is its rapid prototyping. When you’re waiting for life-saving surgery this is the definitely the order of the day.

    When it comes to using 3D printing for biomedical applications, it seems that we are just scratching the surface of what’s possible.


    By 33rd SquareEmbed


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