3D Printed Vertebrae Help Woman Walk Again

A woman suffering from spinal tuberculosis regains ability to walk thanks to 3D printed titanium vertebrae.

Dr. Kumar and Dr. Naik with 3D printed titanium vertebrae implant. / Photo: 3Ders
Dr. Kumar and Dr. Naik with 3D printed titanium vertebrae implant. / Photo: 3Ders

A recent 3Ders article discussed a first-of-its-kind procedure in which a surgical team at Medanta The Medacity in India rebuilt a tuberculosis patient’s spine. The procedure, which took 10 hours, used advanced metal 3D printing technology to create titanium vertebrae to bridge the gap between the first and fourth cervical vertebrae.

The medical team achieved this by obtaining CT and MRI scans of the damaged spine before transforming them into printable models that were fabricated with a metal 3D printer. The patient was painlessly walking again with minimal assistance after just twelve days.

“This is the first such surgery in India and probably third in the world by using 3D printing technology,” Dr. Naik, a senior consultant for spine surgeries at the hospital, added. “These techniques have opened a new avenue wherein any type of complex reconstruction can be done in the spine with less collateral damages.”

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