According to Xi’an News, a 3D-printed artificial cervical disc replacement was successfully implemented at Xi’an Red Society Hospital for a patient, which is the first 3D-printed artificial cervical disc replacement in the world.
It is reported that Ms Liu, a 52-year-old patient from Luonan County, Shaanxi Province, developed symptoms of swelling, numbness and weakness in her left upper limb five months ago, accompanied by unstable walking. She had chosen to be treated conservatively at the local hospital. However, after trying acupuncture and massage, the symptoms were not relieved but became worse and worse, and her daily life was seriously affected. Then, accompanied by her family, Ms. Liu came to Xi’an Red Cross Hospital. After a detailed examination, the doctor found that Ms. Liu had a huge disc protrusion in her cervical 4/5. Director Hao Dingjun said, “The patient is not old, her cervical spine is stable, her cervical degeneration and hyperplasia are not serious, and there are few herniated cervical disc segments. If she had been routinely given a cervical disc decompression fusion, the loss of mobility of the fixed segments and the possibility of post-operative degeneration of the adjacent segments requiring re-operation would have made the follow-up treatment more tortuous than it was worth.”
After much discussion between the consulting surgeons, it was finally decided that cervical disc replacement would preserve the maximum mobility of the patient’s cervical spine and reduce the incidence of degeneration in the adjacent segments while providing a complete decompression and removal of the disc.
As a result, 3D printing technology was brought to the forefront of the programme, which allows for the development of an individualised artificial cervical disc for each patient, thereby effectively reducing the incidence of post-operative related surgical complications. According to the introduction, 3D printed artificial cervical disc prosthesis is based on the patient’s imaging data, first reconstructing the patient’s own 3D image of the cervical spine, then designing and tailoring a personalised prosthesis that best fits the patient based on the image data, 3D printing out the prosthesis and then applying it to the patient’s surgery.
The team then performed a 3D printed artificial cervical disc replacement on Ms Liu and the surgery went very smoothly. On the third day after surgery, Ms Liu was able to walk on the floor with the help of her family. On the fifth day after surgery, Ms Liu was walking freely with the protection of a neck brace.
It is reported that there are no reports of 3D printed artificial cervical discs being used in clinical practice worldwide, and this 3D printed artificial cervical disc replacement is the first of its kind in the world. Technology has provided a more favourable and diverse means of medicine.