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3-D Printed Pelvis BY MADISON BEERBOHM, FEBRUARY 12, 2014
A British surgeon has successfully 3-D printed and implanted a pelvis, in what is believed to be the first transplant of its kind. Orthopedic surgeon, Craig Gerrand, from the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, used this innovative procedure three years ago on an unnamed man who had half of his pelvis removed due to chondrosarcoma, a rare form of bone and joint cancer.
Because chondrosarcoma is unresponsive to typical treatments, such as drugs and radiotherapy, the removal of a portion of the patient’s pelvis was the recommended treatment. The surgeon said that so much bone was removed to stop the spread of cancer, he would have been unable to attach a standard implant made by hand.
To create the tailor-made pelvis, doctors scanned the biological pelvis of the man in his 60's to measure exactly how much bone would need to be removed.
The team then loaded data into the printer which mapped the exact dimensions of the new bespoke hip, using a laser to fuse titanium powder together. The printed bone was then coated with a mineral to allow remaining bone cells to grow.
It is widely believed that 3-D printing has the capacity to revolutionize healthcare, with many medical applications for the technology. 3-D printing not only caters to patients on an individual level by customizing the implant, but also lifts the limits current musculoskeletal replacements have on both timing and structure.
Three years after the procedure, the patient remains happy with the results and is now mobile with added support from a walking stick.