Patient gets 3D ribcage: 3d Printed Rib Cage

Published: September 14, 2015

Patient gets 3D ribcage: 3d Printed Rib Cage, A Spanish cancer patient is the first person in the world to receive a titanium 3D-printed sternum and rib cage, designed and manufactured by an Australian company.

The 54-year-old needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced.

The CSIRO said chest prosthetics were “notoriously tricky” to create due to the complex customised geometry and design for each patient.

Thoracic surgeons typically use flat and plate implants in the chest, but they can come loose over time and create complications, the CSIRO said.

A 3D-printed implant was a safer option for the patient because it can identically mimic the intricate structures of the sternum and ribs.

Almost a fortnight since the surgery, the CSIRO confirmed the patient was discharged and had recovered well.

Anatomics, the company who made the implant, used an electrum beam metal printer to create the part.

Alex Kingsbury, additive manufacturing research leader at the CSIRO, explained how the part was created.

“3D-printing works by imputing a 3D digital cad file into a computer and then that computer talks to the machine.

“The machine then puts down layer upon layer of material and each layer is fused.

“As each layer is fused you then start to build up a part as your layers increase.”

The implant has a titanium plate that will sit over the sternum and the mimicked parts of the ribs are screwed into the bones of the rib cage, securing the implant with the bone.

“3D-printing was the most desirable method because the implant needed to be customised to the patient. No human body is the same,” Ms Kingsbury said.

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