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Cancer Patient Receives World’s First 3-D Printed Ribs & Sternum

posted: 09/11/15
by: Discovery.com Staff

A cancer patient has received a set of titanium 3-D printed ribs -- a world first -- Australian researchers announced today.

Designed by Melbourne-based Anatomics, the prosthesis was implanted into a 54-year-old Spanish cancer patient suffering from a chest wall sarcoma. With a tumor growing around his rib cage, the patient needed his sternum and several ribs replaced.

Titanium sternum
CSIRO via YouTube

"This part of the chest is notoriously tricky to recreate with prosthetics, due to the complex geometry and design required for each patient," Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) explains in a news release.

"The patient's surgical team at the Salamanca University Hospital thought a fully customised 3D printed implant could replicate the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs, providing a safer option for the patient."

Data from a high-resolution CT scan helped researchers build the sternum and ribs, which were printed using a $1.3 million Arcam printer.

CSIRO reports that, nearly two weeks after the procedure, the patient is recovering well.

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