12 Year Old Bone Cancer Patient Given 3D Printed Spine Implant
With surgeons in China confirming the successful implantation of a 3D Printed vertebrae into a 12 year old bone cancer patient, it is little wonder that Cambridge based market research company IDTechEx project a 365% growth in Medical 3D Printing by 2025.
Earlier this month doctors at the Peking University Third Hospital successfully completed a first of its kind surgery, when they implanted custom made 3D printed vertebra into a 12 year old bone cancer patient, Minghao. The five hour surgery saw the removal of a tumour located in the second vertebra of the boys neck and its replacement with a 3D-printed implant, with Dr. Glenn Green, who co-designed the implant stating “it has worked just the way we hoped” with Minghao expected to make a strong recovery.
3D Printing facilitates more natural implant integration.
Prior to the surgery Minghao had been lying in the orthopaedics ward of the hospital for more than two months, with the tumours growth preventing him from standing for more than a few minutes at a time. In the past the vertebra would have been replaced by a standardised, hollow titanium tube requiring screws or cement to hold it in place. In addition the patient head would need to be frame by pins after surgery for a minimum of three months to prevent damage to the implant.
3D Printed vertebra is much stronger and more convenient than traditional methods. Deigned based on the patients actual vertebra, tiny holes were made in the implant to allow surrounding bones to grow into the print and secure it in place. The new vertebra spans the entire width of his spine. as opposed to thinner traditional tube, and allows room for nerves to be threaded through while carrying enough strength to support the bone that sits on top of it. Using 3D Printed technology doctors anticipate a shorter and less inconvenient recovery time that that experienced with traditional implants.