World’s First 3D Printed Vertebrae Are Implanted Into Patients in China

Peking University Third Hospital’s Orthopedics Department recently announced a new 3D bioprinting development. They have been undertaking clinical trials of a new 3D printed orthopedic type – artificial vertebral bodies. These tests represent the first time that vertebral bodies created by 3D printers have been used in human bodies.

The results thus far have been very promising. The Director of the Orthopedics Department, Liu Zhongjun, expressed optimism for the continued success of the implants, stating that all of the patients who received implants last year are recovering well.

The material that is being used to print the implants is nothing new, a titanium powder that has been in use for creating implants for decades. What is new is the way in which 3D printing allows the shapes of the orthotics to be created. As we have seen with knee and hip replacements, that have been created with 3D printing, is that there is an incredible flexibility in terms of the forms that can be generated. Rather than relying on boxy shapes that are easier to produce, the 3D printer’s ability to create extremely complex geometries means a reduction in the amount of additional hardware necessary to force a generic implant to stay in place. Another benefit is the porous nature of the printed implant which allows bones to grow into the implant creating a natural bond. … (Read more)

Source: 3Dprint.com