I just knew I was good at 3D printing, and I wanted to do something that I could help other people with. A lot of people lose their limbs and it is really …
Aug 29, 2016 | By Tess
A team of doctors from China’s Shanghai Changzheng Hospital have successfully implanted a 15 centimeter long 3D printed titanium vertebrae prosthetic into a patient suffering from a serious case of cervical chordoma. The patient, 40-year-old Ms. Zhou from HuNan province, had been suffering from the debilitating disease for nearly 7 years and had just about given up on life until 3D printing presented an almost miraculous treatment option.
During the course of her disease, Ms. Zhou underwent a number of surgeries which proved ultimately unsuccessful, as the tumor located on her upper spinal cord and neck kept returning. The malignant tumor itself, which had grown to envelop the length of six vertebrae, was causing a number of problems, including severe compression of the trachea and esophagus, which made breathing and eating two very difficult tasks for the patient.
As one can imagine, this made life very difficult for Ms. Zhou, but the patient, inspired by her family, was not ready to give up. After reaching out to a number of hospitals and clinics around China and finding that many of them could not help her because of the complexity of the disease and its treatment, the patient’s case finally got picked up by a team from the Shanghai Changzheng Hospital.
The team, led by one Professor Xiao Jianru, investigated Ms. Zhou’s condition and found a potential, though still risky solution as her condition was indeed complex. Specifically, after conducting a number of magnetic resonance examinations, the doctors found that Ms. Zhou’s tumor had grown to be wrapped around her vertebrae section 3-7, her thoracic section 1, and on both sides of her carotid and vertebral arteries. Additionally, because one side of her vertebral arteries had already been blocked as a result of one of her first surgeries, the blockage of the remaining side caused by the tumor was becoming increasingly critical and presented a number of challenges for the doctors and their surgical plans.
For instance, if any additional damage was caused to the vertebral artery during the procedure, there could be a shortage of blood supply to the brain, which could even be fatal. Even in the case of a successful removal of the tumor from the vertebrae, traditional cervical vertebra plates and titanium meshes would not be sufficient for supporting and protecting the spinal cord, nerve roots, and other surrounding parts.
To meet these challenges, the team of doctors spent a long time discussing possible treatment options and finally settled on using an anatomically correct 1:1 3D printed cervical tumor model to use as a preoperative device. This 3D printed model allowed them to visualize and plan out their next steps, which also included the designing and manufacturing of a 3D printed plate integrated system.
As Professor Xiao Jianru explained, “We used 3D imaging and 3D printing technology based on the patient’s CT and MRI imaging data and designed a spinal prosthesis which is similar to the shape and length of the patient’s spinal section.” After many mechanical and simulation tests, the team was able to 3D print a 6 vertebrae plate integrated system, which is being heralded as the world’s first of its kind. The novel system was to be implanted in Ms. Zhou and act as a 15cm long support on her cervical and thoracic vertebra by completely replacing the defected 6 section of her spine.
The 3D printed implant was also designed to incorporate a sponge-like porous structure meant to promote the natural growth of bone cells and ultimately result in bone fusion in the patient for optimal recovery and strength. Additionally, the implant system also has a three-point perspective fixed mode in addition to a pair of lateral vertebral screw fixation devices which adds additional biomechanical stability. According to the doctors, the implant’s design overcomes the current artificial vertebral anti-pull and anti-rotation and helps to achieve all around better support and stability.
The surgery itself took a gruelling 12 hours, but resulted in a successful implantation of the 3D printed vertebrae. According to the doctors, the patient’s symptoms have been improving since the surgery and no related complications have occurred. Since the surgery, Ms. Zhou has been discharged from the hospital and is now in the care of a rehabilitation hospital to continue her treatment.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Siena students used a 3D printer to create a prosthetic arm for a 9-year-old girl themed after her favorite movie.
When the Disney blockbuster “Frozen” hit theaters, merchandise flew off the shelves. But a little girl in Stillwater didn’t want a backpack or a shirt. She wanted an arm.
Karissa Mitchell was born without a right hand, but on Wednesday she got the next best thing – a “Frozen”-themed prosthetic. When the Siena College students who created it fastened it on, Karissa, summed it up in just one word: “Awesome.”
The new arm will take some getting used to, but Karissa is not giving up.
“It feels like I have a real hand,” she said.
Receiving the arm was a moment her parents, Maria and Michael Mitchell, have been waiting for. Her ear-to-ear smile made the yearlong effort worth it.
“For her to be excited about it is just an amazing feeling,” Siena senior Alyx Gleason said.
Gleason is part of the group called Enabling the Future. It’s a worldwide network of volunteers who use 3D printing to give a helping hand free of charge.
“They are helping kids who otherwise might not get something like this,” Maria said. “It’s heartwarming to know that college kids are doing this.”
Karissa’s parents beamed at their daughter when she received her new arm. But Karissa knows it’s okay to be different.
“Because it would be a lot boring if everybody was like everybody,” she said.
Be yourself – that’s the message you’ll find in Karissa’s favorite movie, “Frozen.”
“Just because you may be a little different you can do what you want to do as long as you just have a goal and do it,” Maria said. “She’s going to be something.”
The prosthetic arm included about 30 pieces and took about 30 hours to print. The students said they’ll continue working with Karissa and her family and will be making her a new one whenever she needs it.
A Jamesville-DeWitt 8th grader is the recipient of a prosthetic hand made by classmates in a technology class.
The hand was made using a 3D printer in Keith Bryant’s classroom.
Bryant stumbled upon a project to build these hands when a student suggested they do it for an 8th grader at the school born without a left hand.
Alex Becker has had the prosthetic hand for about a month now.
“I walked into class and everyone noticed it and they were like ‘whoa Alex, what’s up with that?'” He tells NewsChannel 9.
It just so happens that one of the students who helped make the hand for Alex is his younger sister Katie.
“Lots of times, I honestly forget he’s missing a hand, but now to look over and see he has two is awesome.” Katie says.
“As a mother to see my daughter doing something kind for her brother is astounding.” Diane Becker tells NewsChannel 9.
Not satisfied with the current design, they’re already at work printing an improved model for Alex.
Bryant’s class has also made five others to be sent to people who need them in developing countries.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Flagler Palm Coast High School teacher and the Anatomy of Design class instructor Courtney Vandebunte was discussing potential projects that would appeal to her students with her fellow teachers when she came upon the idea of using the Florida school’s recently acquired 3D printers to build prosthetics. Her first instinct was to contact e-NABLE, a charity that helps local makers 3D print prosthetic hands for the needy, however she was unable to make the logistics of bringing experts in to mentor her students work. Vandebunte liked the idea of her students working with prosthetics however, as it would directly inform her class’ mandate. So instead of prosthetics for humans, she started calling around to local animal shelters and humane society locations to see if she could find a pet in need of a prosthetic device.
When Yashoda Sandoval and David Zolondek adopted their 3-year-old German Shepherd mix named Champ he had unfortunately lost one of his legs. He was struck by a car and had been left at the humane society where his injuries required the staff vets to remove his entire front leg. By the time Sandoval and Zolondek found him at Green Cove Springs K9 Services German Shepherd Rescue Champ was all healed, but was still a special needs dog. Vandebunte and her students at the i3 Tech Academy offered to design and 3D print a prosthetic leg for the friendly pup, and they would have plenty of help doing it.
Vandebunte arranged for several professionals to come meet the students and offer their opinions during an Ask an Expert Day, including Dr. Stephanie Badge Kindred, a vet who has been certified in canine rehabilitation, occupational therapist Kymber Whitney and 3D printing expert from Forge 3D Bryce Pfanenstiel, who has previously made a prosthetic device for a cat. And of course the class was able to meet Champ and his owners, where they took measurements of the friendly dog, interviewed his owners about his mobility and even got a chance to take a mold of the area where his missing limb is located so the prosthetic leg could be properly fitted to him.
The class was split up into small groups of three or four students and each tasked with creating their own concept and prototypes. One group proposed a spring loaded prosthetic with a wheel, while another team used a design with several easy to find Razor scooter wheels. There was even a design for a prosthetic that has tank treads on the bottom of it. A few of the student teams were inspired by human prosthetics like the “J” shaped blade device that was worn by Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius. Another team was inspired by Derby the Dog and his figure 8 shaped front leg devices that were created by 3D Systems. Several of the student teams plan to incorporate softer NinjaFlex parts into their final designs so the prosthetic device will be more comfortable for Champ to wear.
Aside from being able to help a lovable dog like Champ, the students are also going to be competing for a $5,000 Motorola Solutions Innovations Grant for their classroom. The grant comes from the Flagler County Education Foundation, and they only award ten each year. The educational charity works closely with students, teachers, families and businesses to improve graduation rates and the job readiness of students. The i3 Tech Academy, part of Flagler Palm Coast High School, has won the grant for three years in a row.
The students were able to present their designs at the Motorola Solutions press conference in Tallahassee on Feb. 25 during a STEM conference. Sandoval and Zolondek will be selecting the final winners, and are planning on bringing Champ in one more time for a final fitting when the project is complete at the end of March. The winning team’s design will be 3D printed on the school’s MakerBot Replicators and given to Champ and his owners for free. Each of the 24 students participating in the class will receive two credits, one for anatomy and a second for art. But an even bigger reward is the experience in design, 3D printing and prototyping that working on Champ’s leg has given them.
[Source/Images: Palm Coast Observer]