In China recently, doctors completed what is believed to be the first spinal operation using a 3d printed implant.
The surgery team's patient was found to have a tumor on his verterbral column two weeks before the operation and was going to need 5 sections of his spine removed in order to survive. If he were going to be able to walk properly, the sections were going to have to be replaced with a nearly identical replacement, and that's when the medical professoinal turned to 3d printed titanium.
“The titanium mesh tube can be any length, even shorter than 19 centimeters,” explained Dr. Liu Zhongjun, chief orthopedics surgeon at the Beijing University Third Hospital. “3D printing can produce implants of whatever size and shape", and "our prognosis is that the patient will have a full recovery."
None of this would have been possible if the FDA equivalent in China hadn't approved the 3d printed spinal replacement just weeks earlier, on May 6.
“For me, I would not have recovered without 3D printing,” said Mr. Yuan.