Chinese physicians in Beijing successfully executed a surgical operation to replace three tumor-eroded thoracic vertebrae with customized 3D-printed implants. They completed China’s first orthopedic implanting surgery completed using customized medical devices since a related regulation by the National Medical Products Administration and the National Health Commission became effective January 1, 2020. A 25-year old female cancer patient benefited as she underwent the implant surgery at Peking University Third Hospital where the tailor-made titanium alloy artificial vertebrae were used for the surgery.
According to Dr. Liu Zhongjun, chief surgeon and the hospital’s director of the institute of spinal surgery, “Spinal reconstruction is the only way for the patient to avoid paralysis.” Dr. Liu and his team have investigated 3D-printing of vertebrae implantation materials since 2010, according to Chinese press Xinhua. Dr. Liu articulates that clinically most patients have some unique physiological structure necessitating tailoring of treatment. Liu believes that 3D printing will go far beyond this capability and move into the integration of porous metal materials and bone tissue interfaces.
Peking University Health Science Center Research
In 2018 Liu’s team won the first prize of the Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Award for the research and application of 3D-printed titanium alloy implants in orthopedic surgeries. See the link for a more detailed description of their ongoing research.
Professor Liu Zhongjum, chief orthopedic surgeon, PhD, advisor, director, Department of Orthopedics, Peking University Third Hospital