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Dawn of 3-D Replacement Body Parts Staff Writer

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dawn of 3-D Replacement Body Parts
Printer Technology

The 3-D printer, already deemed a marvelous invention, became more innovative in early September 2015, providing a tailored 3-D titanium sternum and rib cage replacement for a Spanish cancer patient.

The first equipment for 3-D additive manufacturing, the process by which 3-D printers lay down successive layers of material to recreate an object in 3-D, was created by a Japanese researcher named Hideo Kodama in 1981. 3-D additive manufacturing has steadily improved and its use has so broadened that even you and I can buy a 3-D printer.

This most recent impressive medical case involves a patient with a sarcoma, cancer significantly affecting tissue, bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels. Here, the patient’s sarcoma engulfed his sternum and weakened parts of his rib cage. Consequently, doctors removed his sternum and the affected rib cage parts.

In the past, doctors had to rely on a replacement titanium plate that lacked the complexity and flexibility of the human rib cage, which readily allows breathing while protecting the internal organs. In this case, however, Spanish doctors enlisted the help of an Australian company called Anatomics. Anatomics used CT scans to flawlessly reproduce the patient’s removed sternum and rib cage. Another Australian company called Lab 22 then recreated those parts in titanium with a 1.3 million electron beam Arcam 3-D printer.

The 3-D titanium replacement sternum and rib cage were then implanted in the cancer patient’s chest. The patient was released from the hospital 12 days later and is reportedly progressing well. Replicating the complexity and flexibility of the human sternum and rib cage, the implanted parts are deemed leaps forward in medical technology.

By Kathy Catanzarite

Source: Kathy Catanzarite - Staff Writer

Note from This article is to be used as an educational guide only and should not be interpreted as a legal consultation. Readers of this article are advised to seek an attorney if a legal consultation is needed. Laws may vary by state and are subject to change, thus the accuracy of this information can not be guaranteed. Readers act on this information solely at their own risk. Neither the author,, or any of its affiliates shall have any liability stemming from this article.

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