The experimental operation helped the 27-year-old Australian save his leg. Roiben Lichter suffered a serious form of osteomyelitis and was threatened with an amputation of his leg, but the doctors suggested that he try a new method, previously tested only in animals. As a result, surgeons implanted in his leg a frame of the tibia, printed on a 3D printer.
First, a three-dimensional model of the patient's tibia was created, then it was sent to Singapore, where the prosthesis was made of biocompatible polymer. To successfully complete the implantation, doctors had to perform five operations. In the first of these, pus was drained from the tissues, and the next four were needed to complete the operation successfully, because it's not easy to install a 3D prosthesis into the bone.
The new bone was covered with blood vessels and tissues taken from the tibia of the patient and the left knee – they are now starting to form around the new bone. Doctors are confident that over time the tissues will be able to recreate a new bone, but it will take quite a long time – a year and a half. While Roiben can not walk and disturb his leg.
This is not the first case of replacing the patient's bones with a 3D prosthesis. Earlier in China, an operation was performed in which the patient was replaced by several cervical vertebrae on prostheses created with a 3D printer.
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