Doctors at Vietnam’s Vinmec International General Hospital have managed to carry out an ambitious simultaneous pelvis and femur operation using 3D printing. Diagnosed with a rare cancer, the patient needed to undergo a life-saving surgery in which malignant tissue would be removed and their pelvic bones reshaped, so they could move and walk again.
In order to optimize the highly complex procedure, the surgeons tested prototypes of nearly 100 shapes and structures within simulations, before settling on a final 3D printed implant. Made from titanium, the end-design can withstand ten times higher loads than natural bone, while maintaining the same level of elasticity and durability.
Following an eight-hour operation, the patient was eventually freed of cancerous tissues, and they were able to walk again 10 days later. A major win for medical 3D printing, a world-first in the world of healthcare, and an overall good news story, all wrapped into one!