Australian surgeons save man's life with 3D printing

melon-sized tumour replaced with a 3D-printed implant

An innovative operation to remove a melon-sized tumour wedged between a man’s ribs and sitting critically close to his spine has been successfully removed at North Shore Private Hospital.
The Surgery was performed over 2 days by a team of five consultant surgeons and was led by a cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Michael Harden, and two anaesthetists.

A marathon to save lives and Take out the melon

The doctor in charge of the surgery, Dr. Harden, says multiple complications made planning the operation for fifty-four-year-old David Rashleigh particularly difficult, and a 3D implant was needed to save his life.

taking out a melon sized tumor

The tumor itself was huge.It was measuring about 25–30 centimeters and seemed to be stuck to his chest wall and that position made it harder. He further added.”It was nestled in between 3 ribs and sitting close to his aorta , so it was vital that Dr. Randolph Gray help take off part of his spine and detach the tumor, right in the region where the spinal cord sits.
“In arranging this surgery, we realised the complication after we removed a defect like that.

We can’t just leave a cavity the size of a rockmelon. To save his chest from caving in after surgery,

we designed a 3D-printed, customized chest cavity because we needed to have a unique way of securing the implant to the spine.”
Dr Harden said Mr Rashleigh’s treatment was particularly distinctive, given the unique nature of his tumour (a solitary fibrous pleural tumour),

the number of days it took to complete the surgery, and the size of the surgical teams required.

“I’ve never done anything like it, we had to keep readjusting the patient’s body on the table, from his side to his stomach and then back onto his side.

The implant itself was very particular and I think it’s amazing that we can do it here in Australia, using Australian technology.

This was a very bespoke surgery, nothing off the shelf,” Dr Harden said.


Bioprinting is said to be a new frontier in medicine and health, and the potential it holds for real-world application is immense, from stem cells to potentially a new organ that could suit the receiver’s body and avoid any case of rejection.
One of such bioprinting marvels is from research by Israeli researchers bioprinting a treatment for cancer patients back in august.
The use of 3D printing in the medical space continues to grow with 3d models allowing surgeons to perform the operation-before-the- operation, spotting complications that might arise during surgery before actually going into the operating theatre.

Source: Australian senior news

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