The field of medicine has taken another leap forward. this report which was aired on the ABC in Melbourne shows that an Australian neurosurgeon has completed a world-first marathon surgery removing cancer-riddled vertebrae and successfully replacing them with a 3D-printed body part. the transcript of the story is below:
MATT WORDSWORTH, PRESENTER: An Australian neurosurgeon has delivered a world-first, successfully removing two cancerous vertebrae from a patient’s neck and replacing them with a 3D-printed artificial bone part. There was a risk the patient would die on the operating table during the mammoth 15-hour surgery, which first separated and then successfully reattached the skull to the spinal tissue with the new 3D-printed bone. Doctors say 3D-printed body parts will spearhead a new wave of medicine, allowing customised replacements of bones and organs. Conor Duffy reports.
RALPH MOBBS, NEUROSURGEON: The patient’s head is attached to almost like a GPS tracking system, which is this attached to that machine there.
CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: At the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney, a man’s life is in the balance as neurosurgeon Dr Ralph Mobbs reaches a critical stage of 15-hour surgery.
RALPH MOBBS: This is high-risk surgery. There’s no doubt about it. We’re operating at the top of the spinal cord and the brain stem. There are large blood vessels that feed the – feed the brain and all of those structures are immediately adjacent to where we’re operating.
CONOR DUFFY: It’s the first time in the world this operation has been attempted.
RALPH MOBBS: The surgery that we’re doing today is a particularly complicated and long and difficult surgery. It involves exposure at the top of the neck where the neck and the head meets. And it’s essentially disattaching the patient’s head from his neck and taking the tumour out and reattaching his head back onto his neck.
CONOR DUFFY: The patient, Drage Josevski, has a rare and particularly nasty type of spinal cancer called chordoma. The X-rays show Drage’s tumour is in a very dangerous position and is constricting his top two vertebra.
RALPH MOBBS: Without surgery and without treatment of this type of tumour, the outlook for this patient would be particularly nasty and a particularly horrific way of dying. It’s – there’s no two ways about it. He would gradually lose function of his arms and legs, gradually lose function of his capacity to breathe, eat. Let’s not take it too far further than that. It’s not a pleasant death at all.
CONOR DUFFY: Dr Mobbs custom designed this operation and used computer models to plan it out well before arriving in theatre. Surgeons have to enter through the patient’s mouth, remove the tumour as well as the top two vertebra and replace them with a titanium 3D-printed body part.
RALPH MOBBS: So this is the front of the neck where the tumour is being resected from and this is the space that we will have at the completion of the completion of the tumour resection. As you can see, it’s a large gap. But we’ve pre-planned the prosthesis to fit perfectly in place, like a glove, and that will form the stability for where the neck and the head meet so that his head won’t fall off.
ANATOMICS REPRESENTATIVE (Advertisement): Anatomics manufactures surgical implants from a range of materials and they include acrylic, titanium, and more recently, porous polyethylene.
CONOR DUFFY: The three-dimensional body part was designed by a Victorian company called Anatomics, who say this technology is for everybody, whether you wear size small clothing or plus size clothing. This new range of products are allowing surgeons to consider a whole new suite of operations that were once unthinkable.
How important do you think 3D-printed body parts are to the future of medicine?
RALPH MOBBS: Oh, huge, massive. I mean, 3D printing of body parts is the next phase of individualised health care. To restore bones, joints, organs with this type of technology really is super exciting. And, you know, Australia is supposed to be the smart country. Well, here is our opportunity to really take it out there and to keep pushing the boundaries on the whole 3D-printed body part business.
CONOR DUFFY: It’s only now, two months after the 15-hour surgery, that Dr Ralph Mobbs is about to deliver the news on whether the tumour was successfully removed and replaced by the 3D-printed body part. It felt like I was in a museum and art design class.
RALPH MOBBS: I must say that it was a delight to put in, because after spending 15 hours taking out a very complicated tumour, it was beautiful just to slot in the implant and to have it fit so nicely and to be able to reconstruct the space left by the tumour. The surgery went really, really well.
CONOR DUFFY: Drage has unexpectedly good movement in his neck and it appears the tumour has been removed. But there was a complication. Drage’s having trouble eating and speaking and that’s expected to take some months to heal.
RALPH MOBBS: The complications that you’ve currently got are all related to the fact that we’ve gone through your mouth and we’ve stretched your mouth open for many, many hours and it’s – the complications are related to the fact that there’s been a prolonged exposure through your mouth.
TANYA JOSEVSKA, DAUGHTER: Every day he gets better and better. I think his speech is improving. I know that there’s a long way to go with that. There is so much faith in this process that one day he may even be able to build museum custom showcases.
CONOR DUFFY: Drage’s daughter Tanya and his wife Lila helped translate during his interview with 7.30, reliving the longest day of their lives.
TANYA JOSEVSKA: It was just really hard for Dad knowing that that’s what he had to go through. And not knowing what the outcome would be, as he said, like, we didn’t know if he could die in the operation. We didn’t know what kind of complications could happen. I mean, the doctors explained it, but you never really know.
LILA JOSEVSKA, WIFE: I have a some gift for you.
RALPH MOBBS: Yeah? Oh, wow!
LILA JOSEVSKA: You saved life to my husband. And thank you very much.
RALPH MOBBS: Oh, thank you very much.
LILA JOSEVSKA: You make an amazing, amazing job.
RALPH MOBBS: Oh, thank you.
LILA JOSEVSKA: Thank you very much.
RALPH MOBBS: Thank you.
TANYA JOSEVSKA: He’s just excited to be around for my wedding and to, um, grandkids, to see his grandkids grow up and just be in our life. That’s why he did the operation.
MATT WORDSWORTH: Conor Duffy with that report.
How They Print Bones in 3D
Original Story found at http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4411612.htm