3D Printed Vertebrae A First in Surgery

A surgery involving a 3D printed organ recently created history, once again reminding us of how 3D printing technology is already affecting our lives in significant ways. An Australian neurosurgeon performed the first surgery of its kind by replacing a cancerous vertebrae in a patient with a 3D printed one.

Ralph Mobbs performed the surgery late last year on a 60-year old patient suffering from a rare type of cancer affecting the bones in the spine and skull, called chorodoma. The patient could potentially have been left paralysed had the 15 hour surgery failed. Replacing the patient’s vertebrae was a tricky feat because of their position – any implants had to be a perfect fit. To tackle this issue, Mobbs went for an unusual approach; he decided to 3D print the replacements. He closely worked with Anatomics, which manufactures medical support surfaces and positioning devices, to design the titanium implants.


Source: Uber Gizmo

The patient’s tumor is removed but he will require rehabilitative treatment before he is able to eat and speak on his own. Other doctors and scientists are also increasingly experimenting with 3D printed body parts. Recently, scientists proved the feasibility of the technology by growing a 3D printed ear on a rat’s back, a procedure they claim can be extended to human transplanting. Anatomy students at the Australian Monash University have also started training for implanting 3D printed organs.

Before the surgery took place, the company also printed anatomical models identical to the patient’s head for Mobbs to practice on. In Mobbs’ words, 3D printing is “the next phase of individualised health care”. He believes medical science is pushing boundaries by incorporating 3D printing technology at this scale.

For more information on professional CAD and 3D printing services, get in touch with us. We provide best-in-class 3D printing services at affordable prices for all.



Lucky Balaraman

Executive Director, The Magnum Group

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *