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Cancer Patient Receives 3D Printed Titanium Vertebrae in History-Making Procedure

by • February 21, 2016 • No Comments

7184628-3x2-340x227Receiving a diagnosis of cancer – any kind of cancer – is hard adequate, but imagine being told that your particular type of cancer is going to cause you to die an incredibly painful, drawn-out death. That’s what Drage Josevski was facing when he got a diagnosis of chordoma, a rare type of cancer that affects the spine. It is bad adequate in any part of the spine, but Josevski’s tumor was located in his top two vertebrae. Without treatment, he may gradually lose the function of his arms and legs, and and so his ability to breathe and eat, according to Dr. Ralph Mobbs of the Sydney Spine Clinic in New South Wales, Australia.

To practuallyt that fate, Dr. Mobbs turned to medical device company Anatomics, that made history last year by 3D printing a new sternum and ribs for a cancer patient, the initially time such a procedure had at any time been done. For Josevski, the company made a 3D printed titanium implant that may replace the cancerous vertebrae, but the procedure was going to be quite risky.


“It involves exposure at the top of the neck where the neck and the head meet,” said Dr. Mobbs. “And it’s fundamentally disattaching the patient’s head of his neck and bringing the tumor out and reattaching his head back onto his neck.”

implant1It was the initially time that anyone in the world had attempted this type of procedure, and there was a few uncertainty as to whether Josevski may actually survive the surgery, that took place in December. It took 15 hours for the surgical team to remove the tumor and insert the implant in its place. Thanks to careful pre-planning, yet, once the tumor was removed the implant was able-bodied to be slotted in easily, fitting “like a glove.”

“I must say that it was a delight to put in, for the reason after spending 15 hours bringing out a quite hard tumor, it was attractive just to slot in the implant and to have it fit so nicely and to be able-bodied to reconstruct the space left by the tumor,” said Dr. Mobbs. “The surgery went quite, quite well.”

The surgery wasn’t without complications; Josevski is yet having a few trouble eating and speaking two months later. He is able-bodied to move his head and neck easily, yet, and while it can most likely take sat any timeal months for him to recover full eating and speaking capabilities, he is improving at any timey day. He can be able-bodied to attend his daughter Tanya’s wedding, and, he hopes, actuallytually meet his future grandchildren. After being given such a grim prognosis just a few short months ago, a few complications must seem like a tiny price to pay for the years of life he now has to appear forward to.

Drage Josevski with daughter Tanya [Image: ABC Australia]

Drage Josevski with daughter Tanya [Image: ABC Australia]

The lifesaving procedures that doctors have been able-bodied to achieve with 3D printing are dazzling, and it’s beginning to seem as yet no surgery is not easy anymore, no matter how hard. If a hard and dangerous cancer like Josevski’s was able-bodied to be removed so thoroughly, other patients should have a lot of reason to hope.

“3D printing of body parts is the future phase of individualised health care,” said Dr. Mobbs. “To restore bones, joints, organs with this type of innovation quite is super amazing. And, you understand, Australia is supposed to be the smart country. Well, here is our opportunity to quite take it out there and to store pushing the boundaries on the whole 3D-printed body part business.”

[Source: ABC Australia]