Hospital reconstructs patient’s chest using titanium Additive Manufacturing

February 21, 2018

Hospital reconstructs patient’s chest using titanium 3D printing

Using metal AM, the surgical team was able to produce a titanium implant to the patient’s exact fit and specifications (Courtesy NHS Wales)


Surgeons at Morriston Hospital, Wales, UK, have successfully rebuilt part of a patient’s chest using metal Additive Manufacturing. The titanium implant was additively manufactured on a Renishaw system, as part of a collaborative innovation project between the company and the hospital.

According to NHS Wales, the 71-year-old patient required the implant following surgery to remove an extensive sarcoma – a cancer growth in the soft tissue – from his chest, resulting in the removal of part of the breastbone and three ribs altogether. Though necessary, the surgery left the patient at risk of chest wall destabilisation and potential collapse.

Traditionally, the chest would have been reconstructed using a cement prosthesis. However, although hard-wearing, cement prosthetics do not provide an exact fit and can move within the body, causing issues such as dislocation, explained Ira Goldsmith, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Morriston. In addition, cement prosthetics take around an hour and a half to prepare during surgery, putting the patient at increased risk of complications on the operating table.


Hospital reconstructs patient’s chest using titanium 3D printing

To achieve a custom fit, the implant was designed by hospital staff based on CT scans of the patient’s chest (Courtesy NHS Wales)


Using metal AM, the surgical team was able to produce a titanium implant to the patient’s exact fit and specifications, as well as reducing the overall surgery time by around two hours. To achieve a custom fit, the implant was designed by Heather Goodrum, Morriston’s Biomedical 3D Technician, and Peter Llewelyn Evans, Morriston’s Laboratory Services Manager, based on CT scans of the patient’s chest.

During a reconstructive surgery taking approximately eight hours, the finished titanium implant was sewn into place and covered with a section of latissimus dorsi muscle harvested from the patient’s upper back. Following the procedure, Goldsmith stated, “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.”


Hospital reconstructs patient’s chest using titanium 3D printing

A post-surgical X-ray shows the patient’s reconstructed ribcage (Courtesy NHS Wales)


According to Morriston Hospital, this is the first time an implant of this kind has been produced using metal Additive Manufacturing in the UK. The hospital stated that Goldsmith will give a presentation on the implant’s development at the next meeting of the British Sarcoma Group, as well as the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery in Great Britain and Ireland.

Download the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Our latest issue is now available to view online or download in PDF format.

As well as an extensive AM industry news section, this 176-page issue includes articles and reports on:

  • Metal AM in automotive: How the Czinger 21C is redefining next-generation car manufacturing
  • Buying time with digital spare parts: Opportunities for metal Additive Manufacturing
  • Burloak and the AM scalability challenge: A contract manufacturer’s perspective on the shift to volume production
  • Binder Jetting and beyond: Insights from Fraunhofer IFAM’s second workshop on sinter-based Additive Manufacturing
  • The inestimable value of AI: How Machine Learning can help AM project teams achieve their goals and beyond
  • The need for global standardisation: Takeaways from the Standards Forum at Formnext 2021
  • Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion: Process developments and numerical simulation
  • > More information

Latest news


    Sign up to our e-newsletter, sent weekly to AM professionals and end-users around the world. We'll also let you know each time a new issue of Metal AM magazine is available.

    Discover our magazine archive…

    The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:
    • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
    • Articles on technology and application trends
    • Information on materials developments
    • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
    • International industry news
    All past issues are available to download in PDF format, in either single page format or as double-page “spreads” for viewing on large monitors. All downloads are free of charge. Go to archive...

    Connect with us

    Visit our social media channels and sign up to our e-newsletter

    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap