Doctors Implanted a 3D-Printed Vertebra for the First Time

Doctors in Beijing successfully replaced a 12-year-old boy's damaged second vertebra with a 3D-printed custom implant made from titanium powder. The boy, who had bone cancer, is now in recovery.

This isn't the first surgery swapping busted bones for 3D-printed replacements, but it's the first time doctors managed to fix a spine using a 3D-printed implant. Peking University surgeon Liu Zhongjun, who led the project, deserves a hearty clap on the back and a tip of the (3D-printed) hat.

This is good stuff. It's a big deal in the world of orthopedic medicine, and it's a big deal for people in general. Doctors replaced a woman's jaw with a 3D-printed Super Jaw back in 2012, and the progress made since then is promising. Noses, blood vessels, skin, livers, and all sorts of body parts are getting printed. Our bodies are fragile sacks of slowly rotting meat, and this medical technology means it's getting easier to replace our diseased bits with cleverly designed porous titanium. May our cyborg future shine bright like a 3D-printed diamond. [CNTV via Business Insider ]

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