Breath-taking medicine: 3D printed cervical vertebra

Breath-taking medicine: 3D printed cervical vertebra

Surgeons from Shanghai successfully performed innovative operation to replace the cervical vertebrae produced with 3D printing.

28-year-old female patient with a rare type of cancer, chondrosarcoma, had no chance of recovering using traditional methods. Six of her seven cervical vertebrae were affected by the disease, and doctors took decision to replace them with dentures.

As a result, the team, led by renowned surgeon Xiao Jianro, spent three weeks to manufacture titanium prostheses, which were individually designed using 3D printed technology. The new vertebrae were made based on model of the upper backbone of the patient, printed in full size on 3D printer. The length of the prosthesis that was implanted to the patient is 14 centimeters.

The operation took place in July and took a total of about 13 hours. As a result, the patient is slowly recovering and can already walk alone, but can not yet turn her head.

This is not the first time that this team has used 3D printing technology for surgical procedures. In 2016, it used three-dimensional parts to replace the patient’s cervical and thoracic vertebra.

In addition, recently a group of surgeons in India also used a three-dimensional copy of the vertebra. Nevertheless, this operation is considered to be the most expansive use of technology related to the spine.