A 12-year-old-boy living in China, is the first person to have a 3D-printed vertebra implanted in their body.
The boy, named Minghao, had injured his spine due to bone cancer. In a five hour surgery, the doctors of Beijing's Peking University Third Hospital had replaced the boy's tumorous second vertebra with a bone substitute made from titanium powder.
Minghao still has a long recovery ahead of him. For the next three months he'll have to wear equipment that'll keep his head and neck still, and we'll have to wait and see how his 3D-printed vertebra holds up under real-world conditions. However his doctors do expect him to get better with time, and for the implanted vertebra to become an enduring and stable part of his spine.
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