Doctors from the south China's Hunan Province recently performed a successful spinal surgery using 3D printing technology on a man suffering from a spinal deformity.
The surgery, led by Professor Zhan Ruisen of the Third Xiangya Hospital of Central South University, used a 3D-printed device to help doctors determine the angle and depth of the incisions to ensure the accuracy of the operation.
The patient had long suffered from spinal arthritis, leading to a severe humpback. The man's height had decreased from 1.7 meters to 1.3 meters due to the deformity, and doctors cut parts of his spine to restore him to an upright posture.
Due to the densely distributed nerves on the spine, the surgery required very high precision, said Zhan, adding that any mistake could have resulted in paralysis of the patient.
The 3D-printed nylon part is a precise model of the patient's spine, on which the position and depth of the incision are marked. Fastened to the spine, it made the surgery much easier for the doctors, cutting the surgery time by half to five hours.
The patient has been transferred to a general ward and is expected to be able to walk in a week.