Peking University implants boy with 3D printed vertebra

A Beijing
university hospital has successfully implanted a 3D printed vertebra in a
12-year-old boy, claiming the effort as a world first.

CCTV
reports that Peking University’s No. 3 Hospital performed surgery on the boy’s
spinal cord, carotid arteries and trachea due to a cancerous growth, replacing
the boy’s second vertebra with an additively manufactured titanium structure.

Forbes reports that the implant included special tiny pores to assist the bone to grow
into the implant. 

Existing
methods would mean pins holding the patient’s head up while he was resting to
assist healing.

“This lasts for at least three months,”
the hospital’s orthopaedics director Liu Zhongjun told CCTV.

“But with 3D printing technology, we
can simulate the shape of the vertebra, which is much stronger and more
convenient than traditional methods.”

The procedure took place over five
hours, and Liu said it was the first such operation in the world.

International Business Times reports
that the Peking University hospital had also made 3D printed implants last year
to treat the degerative condition cervical spondylosis.

Image: CCTV