advances in 3 d printing 5f622071a1cb7

Advances in 3-D Printing

Las Vegas Plastic Surgery


After an operation to remove cancer, a child needed a sternum and the ribs that attach to the sternum.  He got one made up of synthetic material.  It fit him perfectly, as it was custom made from his CT scan by a 3-D printer.

This illustrates the continued innovation of materials and science to help patients.  It is especially interesting as one can see a monumental leap in technology in just a short time period.  When I was training, the 3-D computers were just coming into the health care space.  They were being used to construct 3-D models of a patient’s face.  If your patient needed a plate placed on his fractured jaw, you had the opportunity to take the plate out of the package, measure it, bend it to the appropriate shape, all before actually going to the operating room.  The plate was sterilized and then placed into the patient, already, “custom made.”  This saved large amounts of precious and expensive, time in the O.R.

The materials have also changed significantly.  Again, while in training, we used bone cement to fashion a sternum and ribs for patients.  This worked well, we actually wrote a paper about the long term follow up of a patient who had this operation.  Indications are the newer materials, (in this case titanium), should work even better. 

 Again, it is heartwarming to see quickly emerging technology and materials being used for the betterment of the patient.


Murphy, Mike.   Doctors have implanted a 3D-printed ribcage in an actual human being.  Quartz  Sept. 2015.

Ley EJ, Roth JJ, Kim KA, Vincent WR, Muenchow SK, Wells WJ, Downey SE.  Successful repair of ectopia cordis using alloplastic materials: 10-year follow-up.  Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Nov; 114(6):1519-22.

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