Publish Date: 
Monday, July 27, 2020 - 10:45

The ACCISS team have completed another world first surgery using 3D printed technology to improve a birth defect known as “funnel chest.”

The surgery was a collaboration between ACCISS Director, Dr. Michael Wagels and Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher from the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation at QUT to 3D print a tailor made chest scaffold. The scaffold fits in the contours of the patient’s chest to conceal the deformity without compromising the patient’s organs. 

“I saw how amazing the result was on the operating table, that this scaffold developed and printed specifically for the patient fit like a glove. It turned out better than we could have hoped,” Dr Wagels said

The 3D scaffold is made of the same biodegradable polymer but there are none of the ceramic-additives to transform it into bone. Instead the implant is made with more than 90 percent of the patient’s own tissue, not only giving the implant the best chance for success but also allows the regeneration process to commence. 

The patient has had four previous failed attempts to improve the appearance of the deformity and assist the impact on their heart and lung function.

“The deformity does affect the function of my heart and lungs and growing up with this was a journey for everyone in my family,”

“I think I was in shock! There were certainly tears but seeing myself for the first time after the dressings were removed was a revelation that exceeded my expectations,”  

“I didn’t think it would look normal let-alone so good!” the patient said. 

The transformation is a result of extensive planning pre-surgery to design and biomanufacture the implant with support from Australian Centre for Complex Integrated Surgical Solutions (ACCISS), Translational Research Institute (TRI), clinicians at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, ARC ITCC in Additive Biomanufacturing and the final creation of the patient-specific scaffold by German company BellaSeno GmbH. 

This article has been adapted from QUT and Metro South Health.