Cancer Patient Receives 3D Printed Titanium Sternum and Rib Cage

Posted on September 19, 2015

3D printing continues to evolve. It is now being used to print custom body parts for patients. A Spanish cancer patient in Australia received a 3D printed titanium sternum and a 3D printed rib cage in the first surgery of its kind. The above image shows the 3D printed sternum and ribs the patient had implanted.

The 54-year-old male patient suffered from a cancerous tumor called a chest wall sarcoma. It grows around the patient's rib cage. CSIRO says the patient's surgical team determined that a customizable 3D printed sternum and rib cage was the best option for his recovery following removal of the tumor.

The implant was designed and manufactured by Melbourne-based medical device company Anatomics. Anatomics used CSIRO's 3D printing facility, called Lab 22. The 3D printer at Lab 22 is an electron beam metal printer.

The printed implant had pieces that went over the bone and could be screwed in through the bone. Scan data of the patient was used to create the 3D body parts. Customization is necessary in this process as everyone has slightly different measurements. Take a look:

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