July 10, 2015 | By Alec

With the number of 3D printed medical successes continuing to rise, it’s fantastic to see that very serious and usually deadly complications can now also be dealt with. Only yesterday, we saw a Chinese woman with a tumor in her sternal successfully receive a 3D printed implant, and now we are happy to report that a patient in the People’s Hospital of Peking University received the world’s first 3D printed full-sacral prosthesis after a dangerous tumor was removed.

The sacrum bone defect reconstruction surgery in question took place on 8 July, and it is believed that it’s the first time 3D printing technology was ever applied in the very complicated and problematic sacral field. The patient in question is Wang Li from the Guangxi province. Having been diagnosed with a rare type of cancer known as sacral chordoma, he had already undergone tumor removal surgery twice.

Due to continuous recurrence, the number of symptoms kept increasing, including bladder dysfunction and lots of pain. After a series of failed treatments, he was sent to Beijing to see a doctor at the University Hospital of bone tumors, Professor Guo Wei. Professor Guo Wei and his team carried out a full analysis of all available clinical data, and after a series of discussions they determined an ambitious surgical plan for the implementation of complete sacral resection.

But this plan was not without its complications. Professor Guo Wei: ‘The sacrum is an important bone structure that is connected to the torso and the limbs, and together with the upper lumbar it forms the lumbosacral joint, and with the pelvis on both its sides it forms the sacroiliac joint. A full sacrum bone defect after resection can therefore cause the loss of that connection between the human torso and pelvis. After the operation, the patient may not be able to stand and walk, and he cannot even take care of himself. Sacrum bone tumor resection and reconstruction is therefore a major obstacle in the international academic field.’

Fortunately, 3D printing technology has been opening new doors previously unimagined of in the medical field. In order to maximize the accuracy and functionality of the reconstructed sacrum bone defect and to ensure full lumbosacral continuity and quality of his life after surgery, Professor Guo Wei and his team therefore decided to make artificial full sacral prosthesis using 3D printing technology.

This model would be very closely modeled after how the spatial structure should look like after resection of the defect sacral bone, and even featured a very unique surface covered with a metal pore structure to enable bone cells to grow into the voids. This would further strengthen the connection with the spine and pelvis to start to fully match the biomechanical structure.

Professor Guo Wei 

Fortunately, the entire surgery was successfully completed after lasting about four hours. All sacral tumor cells were completely removed, after which the 3D printed prosthesis was perfectly aligned and securely attached to the lumbar spine and pelvis. This spectacular reconstructive success, the professor argues, has opened the way for new reconstructive conventions in the removal of malignant tumors in the sacral region. '3D printed prostheses has advantages unmatched by the previous treatment methods and they should therefore be strongly promoted as the future of surgical treatment of sacrum treatment,' Guo Wei said. Hopefully, this will take surgical success and survival levels to an unprecedented number. In short, a complete 3D printed medical revolution. 



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Daya Wakista wrote at 9/16/2015 10:31:04 AM:

This is unbelievable. My Sacral bone underwent resection 10 years ago and there is no recurrence. However I ended up having bladder & bowel problems which makes my life miserable. I would like to have more info on getting a 3D Printed Sacrum fixed onto my anatomy to alleviate my problems. Any advice pl

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