Creation of Personalised Rib Prostheses Using a Statistical Shape Model and 3D Printing: Case Report

Antonia Pontiki, Savvas Lampridis, Sara De Angelis, Pablo Lamata de la Orden, James Housden, Giulia Benedetti, Andrea Bille, Kawal Rhode

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Management of chest wall defects after oncologic resection can be challenging, depending on the size and location of the defect, as well as the method of reconstruction. This report presents the first clinical case where patient-specific rib prostheses were created using a computer program and statistical shape model of human ribs.
A 64-year-old male was diagnosed with non-small-cell lung cancer originating in the right upper lobe and invading the lateral aspect of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs. Prior to surgical resection, a statistical shape model of human ribs was created and used to synthesise rib models in the software MATLAB (MathWorks, Natick, MA, USA). The patient’s age, weight, height, and sex, as well as the number and side of the ribs of interest, were the inputs to the program. Based on these data, the program generated digital models of the right 3rd, 4th, and 5th ribs. These models were 3D printed, and a silicone mould was created from them. The patient subsequently underwent right upper lobectomy with en bloc resection of the involved chest wall. During the operation, the silicone mould was used to produce rigid prostheses consisting of methyl methacrylate and two layers of polypropylene mesh in a “sandwich” fashion. The prosthetic patch was then implanted to cover the chest wall defect. Thirty days after the surgery, the patient has returned to his pre-disease performance and physical activities.
The statistical shape model and 3D printing is an optimised 3D modelling method that can provide clinicians with a time-efficient technique to create personalised rib prostheses, without any expertise or prior software knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Surgery
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jul 2022


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