3D printing seems to be finding a niche in medicine. The latest feat: Two weeks ago, doctors implanted a 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs into a patient in Spain. According to CNET, he’s doing well.
The patient is suffering from a form of cancer that formed tumors in his chest cavity. To get rid of them, doctors at Salamanca University Hospital needed to cut out a section of his ribs, along with his breastplate. Often, doctors would replace the ribcage with a flat piece of titanium—which can actually loosen over time—but 3D printing allows for a more customized implant. The team at Salamanca took CT scans of the patient’s ribcage and used those images both to show surgeons exactly where to cut, and to create a 3D model to print replacement parts.