A 54-year old Spanish cancer patient needed a part ribcage and sternum implant. The ribcage and sternum parts are very complicated to replicate and they loosen with time. But 3D printed implants were a great option and the CSIRO stated that the patient was successfully recovering after the surgery.
The electrum beam metal printer was used to print the parts and it was supplied by a company named Anatomics.
The manufacturing process of the parts was explained by the Alex Kingsbury, an additive manufacturing expert at CSIRO. He said that a 3d digital CAD file was fed into the printer and it then gave instructions to the printer.
As the instructions are received, the machine puts down layer after layer and as these layers as finally fused to mould the parts. Since all human bodies are different, 3D printing is ideal as the parts have to be customized as per the statistics of the human body.
3D printing will soon be used by medical experts for building broken bones and other body tissues. Recently a 3D printed titanium jaw was implanted in an operation in Australia. Scientists at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane are helping doctors to 3D build damaged parts of the body and a scaffold that acts as a replacement to broken body parts. Dr. Mia Woodruff, at the QUT has been leading this research program.
Dr. Woodruff envisages creating a technology where the 3D printer would be installed in the hospital, where the patient’s body parts can be scanned and immediately printed for implantation.
It would be a dream come true if a machine like this gets installed in all hospitals and damaged and broken body parts and tissues could be replaced and implanted with such ease.