World’s First 3D-Printed Vertebra Implanted in China


Reuters reported that a 12-year-old cancer patient boy in China undergone the world’s first 3D-Printed Vertebra implantation. The operation was performed by the surgeons of Peking University Third Hospital. The boy had cancer in his spinal cord.

“This is the first use of a 3D printed vertebra as an implant for orthopedic spine surgery in the world,” said the surgeon behind the project, Dr. Liu Zhongjun, director of the orthopedics department at Peking University.

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During the 5-hour long operation, surgeons of Peking University were able to remove a tumor from Qin Minglin’s spine and then implanted the 3D-printed vertebra. The artificial vertebra was made from titanium powder and is having lots of tiny pores which will let the bone to grow and link with the arrangement as it reconciles.

“We can use iconographic tests on patients such as a computed, or CT scans, and convert the CT data into 3D-printing data in order to produce an internal fixation with exactly the same structure as the patient’s bone structure,” Dr. Liu Zhongjun told Reuters. He added, “when it is implanted into a human being, it perfectly matches the patient’s own anatomical structure.”

“When I was told that he would be the first case of this kind, I was a little torn, but in the end, I considered that 3D technology has already been applied in the medical world, and they must be confident,” said patient’s mother.

The patient boy Qin got injured during his sports practice and then developed Ewing’s sarcoma. It is a cancerous tumor which grows into whole skeleton and tissues. Doctors said that the boy is on the way to recovery and this may help in expanding the prospects of 3D printed implantation in future.

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