Home Recent News Australian Surgeon Implants ‘World’s First’ 3D-Printed Vertebra

Australian Surgeon Implants ‘World’s First’ 3D-Printed Vertebra

Image: Ralph Mobbs

An Australian neurosurgeon, Ralph Mobbs made a medical history when he successfully removed two cancerous vertebrae from a patient who is in his 60s and replaced it with a 3D-printed prosthesis. The amazing surgery was conducted late 2015 on a patient who suffered from Chordoma cancer, the tumor formed on his top two vertebrae. Without the surgery, the tumor would have compressed the brain stem and spinal cord, leaving him quadriplegic. Ralph Mobbs performed the 15-hour surgery that required him to separate and then reattach the skull to the spinal tissue with a new 3D-printed bone.
The neurosurgeon worked with an Australian medical device manufacturer (Anatomics) to print the replicas of the patient’s top two vertebrae out of titanium. Mobbs told Mashable Australia It was the first time in history that these two neck bones have been printed and successfully installed.

“To be able to get the printed implant that you know will fit perfectly because you’ve already done the operation on a model … It was just a pure delight,” “It was as if someone had switched on a light and said ‘crikey, if this isn’t the future, well then I don’t know what is’.” Mashable Australia
Ralph Mobbs and his team spent more than 15 hours to complete the surgery, and the patient is recovering well. The patient is hoping to get full function of his mouth which served as a passage for the surgery. According to Ralph Mobbs, “It has caused him some problems with his capacity to swallow, which he is gradually recovering,”.