Successful Surgery Leads to First 3D Printed Shoulder Replacement in Croatia

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A 60-year-old man in Croatia had been suffering from an infection in his shoulder, resulting in him losing a great deal of bone mass and most of the function in the joint. His level of function, in fact, was down to about 30% – but after a successful surgery, he’s expected to regain 80% of his shoulder’s original function. In addition to regaining the use of his shoulder, the man also made history, becoming the first person in Croatia to receive a 3D printed shoulder joint.

The surgical team that implanted the 3D printed shoulder was led by Nikola Matejčić, MD at the Clinic for Orthopaedics in Lovran.

“The latest technological advancements in design of osseointegrating implant segments were used,” Dr. Matejčić explained. “The implant was created using a technology of additive manufacturing, namely the Trabecular Titanium 3D printing technology which represents a revolution in production of medical implants.”

Trabecular Titanium is a proprietary 3D printing biomaterial developed by Italian company Lima Corporate. Its structure mimics that of trabecular bone, and its porosity enhances cell migration and vascularization, facilitating the transport of oxygen, nutrients, ions and bone inducing factors, encouraging the formation of new bone. 3D printed using Electron Beam Melting (EBM) technology, Trabecular Titanium components can be fabricated in any geometry, meaning that it’s easy to create patient-specific implants.

The surgery took about three hours and the patient is now recovering nicely and is expected to be discharged by the end of the week. The operation was a collaborative effort, said Dr. Matejčić, with the Faculty of Medicine in Rijeka, the Clinical Hospital Centre in Rijeka and its Department of Radiology, and the Centre for Biomedical Modeling and Innovations in Medicine all working together.

While this surgery was the first in the country involving the implantation of a 3D printed shoulder joint, it wasn’t the first to utilize 3D printing for this clinic. At the beginning of this year, the clinic implanted a 3D printed pelvic joint, and is impressed with the ability of the technology to repair highly damaged joints and restore normal function.

“The 3D printing technology really marks a new age in orthopaedics and medicine in general,” said Branko Šestan, MD, Director of the Clinic for Orthopaedics. “Up until a few years ago, this would have been considered science fiction, as we’ve never thought an entire joint could be reconstructed this way.”

It’s true that until recently, few people would believe that a major joint could be replaced by a 3D printed one, much less that the 3D printed replacement would allow function comparable to that of a normal healthy joint. Now, however, these stories are everywhere. A woman in France had her shoulder restored through 3D printing not long ago, and similar implants have been made in the Netherlands, in China and elsewhere. As 3D printing continues to approach the point at which it’s considered mainstream in the medical field, it’s stories like these that encourage the general public to have faith that this technology really is the future of medicine, so they can be aware of options that can help them.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Source: Total Croatia News / Images: Novilist]

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First ever 3D-printed bridge is now open and it's surely quite impressive

Netherlands opened world’s first ever 3D-printed concrete bridge that is able to carry the weight of almost 40 trucks.

Creators from Eindhoven University spent three months to make this bridge a reality that is situated in Gemert, Netherlands. The bridge is 26-foot-long and has 800 layers. The bridge is however, primarily designed for cyclists and is now all set to support hundreds of cyclists every day.

The bridge spans a water-filled ditch to connect two roads. The 3D printing technique made use of steel reinforcement cables in order to make pre-stressed concrete. As soon as the layers were completed, the bridge was tested by placing a five-ton weight over it. The tests were successful and now the creators believe that they can use the same technology for creating bigger structures, reported Engadget.

Researchers create 3D printed objects that change shape

One of the creators Theo Salet said, “The bridge is not very big, but it was rolled out by a printer, which makes it unique.”

3D printing concrete carries a lot of advantages. It can form any shape and can turn construction to be much quicker. The technique is also more environment friendly than the other traditional methods because it only deposits concrete where it is needed, avoiding cement wastage.

The creators said, “One of the advantages of printing a bridge is that much less concrete is needed than in the conventional technique in which a mould is filled. A printer deposits the concrete only where it is needed.”

Netherlands is among the countries excelling in 3D printing technology. Previous year, a Dutch scientist revealed a 3D printer that can construct ‘endless loop’ building. Also, a Dutch start-up MX3D has almost completed printing a stainless steel bridge that would be laid over by June next year, according to The Guardian.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2017

Australian Scientists Are Behind The World's First 3D Printed Shin Bone Implant

Image: iStock

Queensland University of Technology research and technology is behind the first ever 3D-printed shin bone implant.

The procedure was performed on a Gold Coast man who lost bone lost through an infection.

QUT’s Distinguished Professor Dietmar W Hutmacher is director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing that is at the frontier of 3D printing in medicine.

“Additive Biomanufacturing is an emerging sector within Advanced Manufacturing and the technology allows us to 3D print scaffolds, customised to the patient, which are then slowly resorbed by the body and guide the new bone formation,” Professor Hutmacher said.

QUT’s research team, including Dr Marie-Luise Wille, Dr Nathan Castro and PhD student Sebastien Eggert, worked closely with Dr Michael Wagels, the Princess Alexandra plastic surgeon who performed the surgery.

The team firstly developed a computer model, 3D printed a series of physical models of the large bone defect from CT scans of the patient’s tibia bone, and then designed a patient-specific implant – in the form of a highly porous scaffold which will guide the regeneration of the new bone.

The QUT team used a 3D printer from the Queensland-based company 3D Industries to print the models. The final scaffold design was sent to Osteopore International, who have been making biodegradable scaffolds for ten years now.

And this is just the beginning for QUT’s 3D printing endeavors.

Professor Hutmacher and Dr Wagels have started an innovative PhD training program which is partially funded by the PA Research Foundation in which young surgeons are trained and perform cutting-edge research in 3D printing in medicine to meet Australia’s need to build capacity in key areas of economic importance.

“Next to the ambition to deliver outstanding fundamental science and engineering, from a business and human capital perspective, my vision for the ARC ITCC in Additive Biomanufacturing is to deliver an exceptionally talented group of entrepreneurs who will start high-impact companies,” he said.

“They will have their roots in globally competitive fundamental and applied STEM research as well as in manufacturing innovation and new medical devices.”