Patient receives 3D-printed rib implant in breakthrough procedure

bulgaria 3d printed rib procedure at the top  with support structures bottom after removing

3D printing made some big advances in the medical domain last year, and it seems like that trend isn’t going to slow down any time soon. Proving that point is an impressive procedure recently carried out in Bulgaria, in which a patient received one of the first 3D-printed ribs as part of a potentially lifesaving operation. It demonstrated a new approach to create rib implants, using a process called fused deposition modeling (FDM), which is cheaper in both machine and material costs than other similar attempts.

“[The] patient, Ivaylo Josifov, was diagnosed with a rib deformation,” Mateusz Sidorowicz, director of marketing at 3DGence, the company which made the 3D printer, told Digital Trends. “The doctors were concerned that the deformity may progress, and decided to replace the rib with an implant. Unfortunately, traditional implants — made from titanium, for example — are very expensive. Also, the titanium itself is not a perfect material for replacing ribs.”

Dr. Tzvetan Minchev, head of the cardiothoracic surgery department at Tokuda Hospital, worked with both 3DGence and 3dBGprint, the latter of which actually created the rib, to come up with a high-tech solution for the problem. The rib was created using an FDA-approved material called Nylon 680, able to both withstand the necessary high temperatures needed for sterilization, and also possessing mechanical properties similar to a real rib.

bulgaria 3d printed rib procedure industrial printer  3dgence industry f340

Sidorowicz says that the patient’s rib cage was scanned and the 3D-printed rib created in less than 24 hours. This was customized to the exact requirements of the patient. It was considerably cheaper than a titanium implant, too — with the cost of the materials, labor, and machine time adding up to less than 100 euros ($114).

This isn’t the only example of 3D-printed bones that we’ve covered at Digital Trends. At the University of Arizona, researchers are investigating ways to mend broken bones using 3D printing and adult stem cells. This research could one day be used to help patients, such as military veterans who suffer combat injuries, which can lead to prolonged ailments and bone defects.

Work carried out at Pennsylvania State University has also resulted in more breathable 3D-printed tissues, which could be used for manufacturing artificial bone and cartilage.

As 2019 progresses, expect to see 3D printing used more frequently in hospitals around the world.

Emerging Tech

Google’s radar-sensing tech could make any object smart

Computer scientists have shown how Google’s Soli sensor can be used to make dumb objects smart. Here's why radar-powered computing could finally make the dream of smart homes a reality.
Emerging Tech

3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500

3D printer prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years, but just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth buying. Here, we’ve rounded up all the cheap 3D printers that are actually worth spending your money on.
Emerging Tech

Tiny microbots fold like origami to travel through the human body

Tiny robots modeled after bacteria could be used to deliver drugs to hard to reach areas of the human body. Scientists have developed elastic microbots that can change their shape depending on their environment.
Emerging Tech

Scientists successfully grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish

Researchers have managed to grow human blood vessels in a Petri dish for the first time, and even to successfully implant them into live mice. The results could be a game-changer for diabetes.
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.
Emerging Tech

Scientists investigate how massive stars die in dramatic hypernova events

Our Sun will gradually fade before expanding into a red giant at the end of its life. But larger mass stars undergo extreme explosive events called hypernovas when they die which outshine their entire galaxies.
Emerging Tech

Pilotless planes are on their way, but would you fly in one?

Airbus says advancements in artificial intelligence can help it toward its goal of building a plane capable of fully autonomous flight, though whether passengers can be persuaded to travel in one is another matter entirely.
Emerging Tech

‘Tech vest’ prevents Amazon workers from colliding with robot co-workers

Amazon workers at its fulfillment centers are using "tech vests" to help protect them from collisions with their robot co-workers. The robots already have obstacle avoidance sensors, but the belt offers another layer of safety.
Mobile

T-Mobile 5G rollout: Here is everything you need to know

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Emerging Tech

ANYmal dog robot can get back on its feet when someone pushes it over

Roboticists at ETH Zurich have demonstrated how their ANYmal four-legged robot is capable of taking a kicking and keeping on walking -- or getting back to its feet if it's pushed over.
Emerging Tech

A.I. finds non-infringing ways to copy drugs pharma spends billions developing

Researchers have demonstrated an artificial intelligence which can find new methods for producing existing pharmaceuticals in a way that doesn’t infringe on existing patents. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Coinstar machines will let you swap cash for Bitcoin at your local grocery store

Coinstar, the company which owns the coin exchange machines found at grocery stores and elsewhere, will soon let you easily buy Bitcoin with your cash money. Here's how it will work.
Emerging Tech

Facebook hasn’t given up on the idea of building an internet drone

Facebook's efforts to provide internet connectivity from the skies using solar-powered drones suffered a blow last year when the company abandoned its "Aquila" drone project. But the company clearly hasn't given up on the idea.
Emerging Tech

World’s biggest fleet of campus delivery robots now transporting student meals

The world’s largest fleet of delivery robots on a university campus is coming to Fairfax County, Virginia’s George Mason University. Here's how the ordering and delivery process plays out.