A 54-year-old Spanish man suffering from a chest wall sarcoma has become the first-ever recipient of a 3D-printed titanium sternum and partial rib cage implant. A surgical team from the Salamanca University Hospital in Spain concluded that the patient’s best chance for survival and recovery would be to completely remove the tumor and the portions of his skeletal structure engulfed within the cancerous growth.
In order to address the complexity of creating a custom implant of this magnitude, the Salamanca surgical team sent high-resolution CT scan data to Australian 3D design firm Anatomics. The team at Anatomics collaborated with engineers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, to produce the innovative titanium breastplate implant using CSIRO’s Arcam electron beam melting (EBM) 3D-printer. The prosthetic was then couriered to Spain, where the patient underwent this groundbreaking surgical procedure. The patient was discharged 12 days later and is considered to be recovering well.