Ladies and gentlemen, we are officially one step closer to realizing the Wolverine dream. A 54-year-old cancer patient has received a rib and sternum transplant, made out of titanium. Not quite adamantium, but definitely a novel way to save a life. As if the transplant itself weren’t cool enough on it’s own, it was the first ever of it’s type created by a 3D printer.
Why They Did It
This particular 54-year-old patient was suffering from a chest wall sarcoma, which is a tumor that grows around the ribcage. Because of this, he needed his sternum and ribcage replaced, but these parts are typically hard to reproduce prosthetically. As a result, his surgical team turned to a medical device company called Anatomics, which designed and manufactured a 3D printed titanium custom sternum and ribcage replacement.
Why It’s Special
- Though 3D printed organs have been produced, this is the first custom 3D printed titanium rib cage and sternum.
- It was printed on a $1.3m Arcam printer in Australia, then shipped to Spain.
- It worked! All of the problems with a typical prosthetic replacement were averted, and the patient recovered in 12 days.
The future looks extremely bright for the medical applications of 3D printing, and 20somethings, we have a front row seat to the show!
Check out this cool video on the process: