How the 3D printed sternum and rib cage was designed to fit inside the patient’s body. Photo courtesy Anatomics.
How the 3D printed sternum and rib cage was designed to fit inside the patient’s body. Photo courtesy Anatomics.

A Spanish cancer patient has received a 3D printed titanium sternum and rib cage designed and manufactured at CSIRO’s Melbourne, Australia-based 3D printing facility.

Suffering from a chest wall sarcoma (a type of cancerous tumour that grows, in this instance, around the rib cage), the 54 year old man needed his sternum and a portion of his rib cage replaced. This part of the chest is notoriously tricky to recreate with prosthetics, due to the complex geometry and design required for each patient. So the patient’s surgical team determined that a fully customisable 3D printed sternum and rib cage was the best option.

Melbourne-based medical device company Anatomics, who designed and manufactured the implant utilising CSIRO’s 3D printing facility. Using high resolution CT data, the Anatomics team was able to create a 3D reconstruction of the chest wall and tumour, allowing the surgeons to plan and accurately define resection margins. The implant was printed using a $1.3 million Arcam printer to build up the implant layer-by-layer with an electron beam.

Some 12 days after the surgery the patient was discharged and has recovered well, according to CSIRO.

This story is reprinted from material from CSIRO, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.