Chinese hospital cures patients with 3D-printed implants

Updated: Jan 13, 2020 Xinhua Print
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Chinese doctors in Beijing have successfully carried out a surgical operation to replace three tumor-eroded thoracic vertebrae with customized 3D-printed implants.

A 25-year-old female cancer patient underwent the implant surgery at Peking University Third Hospital on Thursday, during which tailor-made titanium alloy artificial vertebrae were used.

It was China's first orthopedic implanting surgery completed using customized medical devices since a related regulation, jointly issued by the National Medical Products Administration and the National Health Commission, took effect on Jan 1.

"Spinal reconstruction is the only way for the patient to avoid paralysis," said Liu Zhongjun, chief surgeon and the hospital's director of the institute of spinal surgery.

Liu and his team have been conducting research on 3D-printing of vertebrae implantation materials since 2010.

He added that, clinically, almost every patient has a unique physiological structure that requires treatment in accordance with their syndrome differentiation and individuality.

Orthopedic 3D-printed implant products with independent intellectual property rights, once they were brought into large-scale production and application, will promote the development of the entire industrial chain in China and reduce the medical expenses for patients, Liu said.

He believes that the significance of 3D printing goes far beyond this. In-depth research will be carried out on the integration of porous metal materials and bone tissue interfaces.

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