Chest transplantation using 3D-printing technology marked its first success in South Korea.
Professor Park Byung-joon and his team at Chung-Ang University Hospital’s Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery announced on Thursday the successful surgery results of transplanting a 3D-printed ribcage to a patient with sarcoma, a malignant tumor that invaded the thorax.
|Artificial chest produced through 3D-printing (Credit: Chung-Ang University Hospital)|
The 55-year old male patient had sarcoma in the sternum and rib and needed an extensive resection. It was difficult, however, to create a prosthesis that accurately fits his thorax through reconstructive surgery using conventional bone cement.
Park and his team turned to 3D printing. Park decided on the extent of the resection surgery and the range of the chest bone reconstruction based on computed tomography with the help from plastic surgeon, Professor Kim Han-koo, and other experts from departments of respiratory allergy, radiology, hermato-oncology, radiation oncology and anesthesiology.
The team designed the artificial ribcage that matches the reconstruction range using 3D printing technology in consultation with the team led by Kim Geon-hee from the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology. The artificial chest made with 3D printing, composed of pure titanium, weighs only 190g.
The 3D-printed chest cavity received Chung-Ang University Hospital Clinical Trial Committee’s approval through biological stability tests and strength and tensile tests specified by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Park and his team successfully transplanted the titanium ribcage into the patient’s thoracic on Sept. 19 after resecting the sternum and 10 ribs.
This transplantation by Chung-Ang University Hospital is the first using 3D-printed chest that was tried and succeeded in Korea. It also marked the sixth success in the world following ones in Spain, Italy, the U.S., Britain and China.
The hospital explained the surgery was more extensive and difficult transplantation compared to other successful 3D-printed chest transplant cases overseas as it used the biggest customized artificial chest which was measured 286mm in width and 172mm in length.
“The surgery was successful, and the patient is recovering well. The surgery is evaluated to have been a safe and efficient one,” the hospital said.
“It is not easy to make a suitable shape for the patients with the conventional thoracoplasty using bone cement or titanium rod,” Professor Park said. “It was not only heavy and caused frequent cases of chest discomfort and dyspnea after surgery but also had the risk of causing foreign body reactions or bacterial infections,” said Park.
Three D-printed titanium chest cavity is lighter than conventional artificial materials and can minimize infections and complications after surgery as it is tailored to the patient’s chest to improve precision and strength, he added.
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