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Monday, September 14, 2015

Cancer patient receives 3D-printed ribcage in world first surgery

From organs to prosthetic body parts, 3D-printing has become a powerful tool for medicine.
And now, for the first time ever, doctors have implanted a 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs inside a 54-year-old cancer patient in Spain.
The man suffered from chest wall sarcoma, which is a cancerous tumor that grows around the chest wall. Part of the patient’s skeleton had to be removed to get the tumor completely out, so the doctors at Salamanca University Hospital turned to 3D printing to replace the missing part of the skeleton.
The medical team worked with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Anatomics, an Australian medical device company to create the sternum implant.
High-resolution CT scans of the patient’s chest enabled Anatomics to design a replica of the patient’s missing sternum and ribcage. Anatomics turned to CSIRO, which has a specialized printing laboratory, to print the device.
According to CSIRO's blog, surgeons typically use a flat and plate implants for the chest, but these can loosen over time and cause complications. The 3D-printed ribcage was proposed as a better option by the surgeons. 
It's been almost two weeks since the procedure and the patient is recovering well, according to the blog post. 
How the implant fit into the patient's chest.
While 3D printing has carved out a niche in the medical world, it's beginning to find traction in other industries as well.