A woman in China just received the world’s first 3D printed titanium sternum implant thanks to a team of innovative doctors at the Tang Du Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University.
Ms. Gu was having chest pains and was diagnosed with a massive tumor growing on her sternum.
The doctors decided that they must remove the sternum, but that would place Ms. Gu in serious risk for the rest of her life.
“If a piece of the chest bone is resected (removed), the patient’s heart loses its ‘protective’ wall.” member of the medical team, Wang Xiaoping explained. “After traditional sternum resection surgery, the patient can not go into crowded places, or even hug other people, and in severe cases the patient may randomly faint. Thus, this conventional sternum surgery is not the ideal choice.”
So, the doctors decided to use 3D printing to create new new sternum implant for the woman, however, there was only one problem. Ms. Gu’s sternum was seriously damaged by the huge tumor.
To make the titanium replacement sternum, then, doctors combined information gathered from Ms. Gu with measurements of other women her height, age and size. The result was a durable “heart protector” and a first for the medical team.
“3D printing of a titanium sternal implant replacement, had not seen before,” Xiaoping said. “We referred to the relevant authority, and they found that this is the first surgery both at home and abroad for using a 3D printed implantable titanium sternum into the human body.”
Thankfully, Ms. Gu came out of the surgery fine and has praised her medical team’s high-tech solution.
“My heart which is now protected by this strong ‘guardian’, is suddenly at ease,” Ms. Gu said after receiving the implant. “The magic of high-tech medical technology combined with superb medical care, really helped make this miracle happen.”
Photo Credit: 3D Print