In 3D: Implants & Phantoms
Professor Kawal Rhode and his research team are creating custom implants for patients with 3D printing.
"It's virtually a zero-cost situation because the cost of the printing and making the silicone moulds is exceptionally low at only a few tens of pounds. We focused on building very low-cost technology which is not going to add to the overall cost of the procedure and make it prohibitive to introduce." - Professor Kawal Rhode
Patients are scanned using CT imaging before they have their surgery for removal of bones affected by cancer. These scans are used to build 3D computer models of the bones that are going to be removed such as a part of a rib, a set of ribs or the sternum.
These models are 3D printed in low-cost plastic. A mould is created using silicone which is then sterilized and sent to the operating theatre during surgery. This mould is subsequently used to create a new rib or a new sternum using bone cement, an approved material which can be implanted.