3D Bone Printing Technology Changes Health Care



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3d bone printingThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at a new type of medical implant at could change the world of medical implants for everyone. Scientists and doctors at Salamanca University Hospital in Spain worked together recently with 3D bone printing to replace the sternum and part of the rib cage for a patient suffering from bone cancer.

3D Printing For Bones

The sternum is the breast bone in the center of the chest that connects the ribs. It is a very complex structure with a lot of connections to surrounding bones in the ribs so until 3D printing came along, no implant was able to duplicate the structure successfully. The team used Hi-Res CT scanning technology to create a digital map of the sternum and then used that map to activate a special metal 3D printer to create a perfect titanium replica of the patient’s sternum and associated ribs on the one side that would need to be removed.

The printing also created connections for the metal implant to connect to the remaining ribs with specially designed and printed clamps and screws. The resultant surgery was successful and the patient was discharged with his new rib cage just under two weeks later.

This is exciting because we are that much closer with each of these advancements for being able to print and replace nearly every part of the body that breaks down over time. Whether it is with metal replacements or with specially printed human tissue from the patient themselves, we could be seeing the advent of amazing new technologies. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll keep sharing it with you here on the Health Tech Weekly podcast! Stay tuned!

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