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UK first: a patient's chest has been rebuilt using 3D printing

19 February 2018

Peter Maggs, from Abergavenny, has become the first person in Wales to have his chest wall rebuilt with a 3D printed prosthesis.

The implant was designed using a CT scan of Mr Maggs’ chest and the 3D printed titanium implant (Credit: ABMU Health Board)

During the removal of a large tumour, carried out by consultant surgeons Ira Goldsmith and Thomas Bragg, with the support of the Morriston surgical team, Mr Maggs had three ribs and half his breastbone taken out during a day long operation. 

This left a large defect his chest which would normally have been reconstructed using a special cement prosthesis. However, advances in 3D printing technology meant a bespoke implant, designed to exact proportions, could be made. The implant uses titanium for strength and stability, and it meant surgery time could be reduced by around two hours. 

It was 3D printed by Renishaw, a partner currently working with Morriston Hospital and it’s the first time such an implant has been printed in the UK. The surgery was carried out and Mr Goldsmith said the prosthesis fitted into place perfectly. After being inserted, the implant was covered with a section of latissimus dorsi muscle, which was earlier harvested from Mr Maggs’ upper back. 

The implant took around an hour and a half to prepare and the procedure took eight hours to complete.

X-ray of Mr Maggs’ chest with the implant in place (Credit: ABMU Health Board)

Mr Goldsmith said: “We are very pleased with the outcome. The implant is a perfect fit.

“Titanium is very strong and any problems like dislocation are reduced or even eliminated because the implant is anchored securely to the ribs and breastbone.”

“It was the first time for this procedure to be carried out in Wales and because of its success we plan to carry it out again in the future.

“We have also liaised with Swansea University and together we are drawing up protocols enabling other surgeons around the world to learn from us so they can use this technique on their own patients.”

Watch the video interview, courtesy of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, with Mr Maggs and Mr Goldsmith.

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