Feb 18, 2018 | By Benedict

A grandfather in Wales has become the country’s first man to have his chest wall rebuilt with a 3D printed prosthesis. The man, Peter Maggs, had three ribs and half his breastbone removed to get rid of a large tumor.

Sometimes awful circumstances result in the most amazing technological breakthroughs. Peter Maggs, a 71-year-old native of Wales in the UK, thought he had discovered a cyst in his chest, only to have doctors reveal it was in fact a sarcoma, a cancerous tumor, in his rib cartilage. It was awful news, but what happened next has had Welsh doctors celebrating up and down the country.

Maggs’ monstrous tumor, as wide as a tennis ball, was removed during a day-long operation at Morriston Hospital in Wales, and—in what was a first for the small country that borders England—3D printing technology was used to rebuild Maggs’ chest.

The 3D printed prosthetic was based on CT scans of the patient’s chest, and engineered by 3D technician Heather Goodrum, who last year became the UK’s first dedicated medical 3D printing technician at an NHS (national health service) hospital, and maxillofacial laboratory services manager Peter Llewelyn Evans.

The implant was 3D printed in titanium by British additive manufacturing company Renishaw, which unveiled its four-laser RenAM 500Q 3D printer in October.

Unusually, the titanium chest implant had to be sewn rather than screwed into place, since the bone was narrow and soft and could easily have snapped under the pressure of a screw. The implant was then covered with a section of latissimus dorsi muscle taken from Maggs’ upper back.

In cases like this, doctors have traditionally used cement implants. However, these can fit poorly and move around, causing dislocation.

(Image: ABMU Health Board)



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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