A Shanghai hospital has completed the world’s first cervical vertebra replacement operation with 3D-printed bones.
The patient, 28-year-old Xiao Wen (not her real name), was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma in May. The tumor was located on her neck, encroaching on six of the seven bones of the cervical vertebra.
As the cancer is prone to relapse and chemotherapy is less effective, doctors at Shanghai Changzheng Hospital decided to remove all six bones and replace them with 3D printed bones.
The team led by famous spinal surgeon Xiao Jianru spent three weeks building the artificial bones. They chose titanium alloy and used 3D printing technology to custom-make them for the patient. The main part that holds the weight of her head is 14 centimeters long, Thepaper.cn reported.
The successful first-of-its-kind operation was conducted twice in July, lasting 13 hours in total. Xiao Wen is slowly recovering. She is now able to walk, but she is unable to turn her head normally.
Shanghai Changzheng Hospital is the largest center for spinal tumor treatment in China. Over 1,000 operations are conducted every year at the hospital. In 2016, Xiao’s team completed an operation using 3D printing technology on parts of a patient’s cervical vertebra and thoracic vertebra. (enpeople)