There’s no electronics here, but it’s a story about a whole new kind of wearable Health Tech device. It is widely reported that doctors at Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing have inserted a fabricated spinal implant in a 12 year old patient. What makes this story special is that the implant was printed using a 3D printer, and is made from titanium powder. The patient needed the implant because a massive tumor had damaged the original bone beyond repair.
The component was designed and built based on careful measurements taken from the patient’s spine before the operation to remove the tumor. Unlike traditional implants, this device does not require screws or other fasteners to hold it in place because it fits so precisely. The device also was built with tiny holes that will allow bone tissue to grow and integrate with it, holding it in place. This should eliminate the problem that some spinal implants have, where they become detached from the bone.
This is just one example of how 3D printing is already being used to create custom replacement parts for patients with defects due to trauma or disease. As this field develops, doctors will quickly be able to “print” spare parts for patients to deal with a wide range of situations.