3D Printing

Patient receives 3D-printed titanium sternum and rib cage

3D printing technology has enabled a replacement sternum and rib cage customized for a specific patient
3D printing technology has enabled a replacement sternum and rib cage customized for a specific patient
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3D printing technology has enabled a replacement sternum and rib cage customized for a specific patient
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3D printing technology has enabled a replacement sternum and rib cage customized for a specific patient
Front view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant
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Front view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant
Back view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant
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Back view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant

Following a 3D-printed heel bone, a3D-printed mouth guard for sleep apnea sufferers and the world's first3D-printed jet engine, Lab 22 at Australia's CSIRO has added to the growing list of3D-printed medical implants by designing and printing a replacement titaniumsternum and rib cage for a 54-year-old cancer patient.

The sternum and rib cage features a complexgeometry that means the flat and plate implants traditionally used for thispart of the chest can come loose over time. For this reason, the surgical team at the Salamanca UniversityHospital in Spain thought a custom 3D-printed implant would be a better optionfor a Spanish man suffering from a chest wall sarcoma – a condition that had resulted in a cancerous tumor growing around his rib cage, requiring certainsections to be removed.

Front view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant
Front view of the 3D-printed sternum and rib cage implant

By using high resolution CT scans, Melbourne-basedmedical device company Anatomics, working with the patient's surgical team, wasable to design an implant specifically customized to fit perfectly in thepatient's chest. With the design in hand, the company turned to Lab 22, whoprinted the implant layer-by-layer using its AUD$1.3 million (US$920,000) Arcamelectron beam metal 3D printer.

Once complete, the 3D-printed sternum andpartial rib cage was couriered to Spain and implanted into the patient's chest.The implant was designed with pieces that went over the remaining bone andallowed them to be attached securely with screws.

The surgery was a success and the patientwas discharged from hospital 12 days later.

The video below below describes the processused to create the implant.

Source: CSIRO

Cancer patient receives 3D printed ribs manufactured by Anatomics

3 comments
JMOdom
If that registers with metal detectors, then he will really be loved at all airports and other check points.
byrneheart
Bone replacement is very important where major organs are otherwise left vulnerable to a minor knock. That being said, wolverine much :-)!
Lifeform
An amazing medical decision and achievement, but which also gives rise to some interesting self-repair jobs in terms of future robotics. Androids or android vehicles sent into hazadous conditions could self-repair their own parts (for example - Using Cold Spray Technology with titanium - [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xs4sjIu7HM]. However human orthopaedic surgery is not without its problems and even titanium pins to help reassemble bones can get infected with say MRSA or rejection unless monitored carefully. Anyway glad to hear this man made it home in more than one piece; but it would be interesting to know whether the titanium sternum develops an oxide layer due to the electrical signals occurring in the neural network membrane around the heart and therefore changes colour. Maybe not quite a stupid idea - red titanium showing the heart working normally while yellow indicating low electrical heart activity (well anyone can have a theory!).