A WARWICKSHIRE man has received the UK’s first 3D-printed sternum and ribs thanks to staff at Heartlands Hospital.
Edward Evan’s has become the first patient in the UK, and only the second in the world, to receive a custom built 3D-printed titanium sternum and ribs to replace those that were removed following a rare bone infection six years ago.
The 60-year-old former rugby coach had to remove part of his sternum and ribcage removed in 2011 after it became infected.
This left him with just a thin layer of muscle protecting his heart and lungs.
Usually, patients who have their ribs and sternum removed are fitted with an implant made of methyl methacrylate (cement).
But Cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Ehab Bishay, from Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, had read of the world’s first 3D implant which had been built by a team of surgeons in University Hospital Salamanca, Spain.
Working alongside an Australia-based medical device company, Anatomics, they created a custom built titanium implant that precisely replicated the structure of a sternum and rib cage in a cancer patient which was then implanted.
Dr Bishay approached the team to ask for their help in treating Edward.
The team in Australia fed high-resolution CT scans of Edward’s chest into a 3D printer that uses a powerful electron beam, to melt and fuse metal powder into a 3D object, layer by fine layer.
Heartlands doctors were then able to use the latest advances in chest wall dynamic imaging and lung function assessments, to significantly improve Edward’s chest wall movement and lung function in a four-hour surgery.
Edward spent five days in hospital and now nearly five months later, he has made a full recovery.
He said: “I feel more confident now and my chest now feels like it did before.
“Whatever I do now – simple or difficult – I feel better doing it.
“I can even fall over, knowing that my heart and lungs are protected, and that’s something I couldn’t do before.
“I am very grateful to Mr Bishay for giving me the opportunity to take advantage of this new implant technology and thank him, Mr Khalil and the rest of the medical team involved for the excellent treatment I received at Heartlands Hospital before, during and after surgery.”