Surgeons at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Yerushalayim have for the first time employed 3-D printing technology to augment bone in a patient, providing full function of an arm afflicted with a painful congenital malformation, The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday.
The 13-year-old patient was successfully operated on using a “patient-specific instrument” — essentially a printed bone, the report said.
Dr. Gershon Singer, head of the hand surgery unit, said she suffered from Madelung deformity, a condition resulting from uneven growth of the radius bone near the wrist, often due to genetic cause. A CT scan pinpointed distortions in two places in her right arm, causing severe pain and limitation of movement.
Printing of an accessory to the bone is accomplished in three stages: Imaging tests are fed into a system for 3D analysis, which allows the viewing of the object from all angles. Once the distortions are identified, the printed object is planned. A precisely customized accessory is attached with magnets and screws to fix the bone, Dr. Singer explained.
Although it was the first orthopedic application of 3D printing, it was not the first time such a technique was used in Israel. Previously, Dr. Shlomo Dadia used 3D printing successfully in a kidney operation.