3D-printed vertebra saves 12 year old from bone cancer



All hopes seemed lost when 12 year old Minghao injured his neck while playing football after a header. The cause of the injury was a tumor, located in the second vertebra. For two months before the discovery, Minghao had been lying in the orthopedics ward being able stand up occasionally, but only for a few minutes. 

But the brilliant surgeons in Beijing, China, were successfully able to implant a 3D-printed vertebra between the 1st and the 3rd vertebrae of the spinal cord. They say it is the first time such a procedure has ever been done and Dr. Liu Zhongjun who performed the surgery is very happy with the results.

3D-Spine model

3D-Spine model

“Using existing technology, the patient’s head needs to be framed with pins after surgery,” as his head cannot touch the bed when he is resting for at least three months, he explained. “But with 3D printing technology, we can simulate the shape of the vertebra, which is much stronger and more convenient than traditional methods.”, explained Dr. Liu who is also the director of orthopedics at Peking University.

Five days after the surgery doctors say Minghao was in a good physical condition and at the time they expected him to make a strong recovery.

Source: CBS news

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