A 54-year-old cancer patient from Spain has received the world’s first 3D printed titanium sternum and rib implant.
Due to a chest wall sarcoma – a malignant tumor growing in and around the rib cage – the patient’s sternum and part of his ribs had to be removed. Doctors at the Salamanca University Hospital in Spain turned to 3D printing technology in order to replace the missing bones with custom 3D printed titanium implants.
“We thought, maybe we could create a new type of implant that we could fully customise to replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs,” explained Dr José Aranda from Salamanca University Hospital. “We wanted to provide a safer option for our patient, and improve their recovery post-surgery,” added Aranda.
Based on CT scan data, the Melbourne-based medical device company Anatomics designed the implant, which was then 3D printed at CSIRO’s 3D printing facility Lab 22 in Australia.
The custom titanium sternum and rib structure was then shipped to Spain where surgeons implanted it successfully. The patient was able to leave the hospital only 12 days after the surgery and has recovered well.
We have reported about a similar case back in July, where a Chinese woman diagnosed with a tumour in her sternum had received a 3D printed titanium sternum implant, after her own had to be removed.