Just like going broke, progress moves gradually then all at once. Just a few weeks ago a cancer patient in Spain received the world’s first 3D-printed ribcage. Now come reports of a Chinese man whose entire sternum was removed and replaced with a smaller, lighter, 3D-printed titanium model.

3ders reports the anonymous patient was admitted early September with a lump on his chest doctors diagnosed as a symptom of multiple bone tumors on his sternum.

With little time to act, the doctors decided the most decisive course would be to remove the tumors and the sternum itself, replacing breastbone with a custom 3D-printing. They were able to make it smaller than the patient’s original bones because of the material’s increased strength, meaning patient discomfort should be lessened during recovery.

The unnamed patient complained of a lump on his chest as well as pains and shortness of breath, all tied to tumors on his sternum.
The titanium alloy was the quickest replacement. 

The replacement was made using laser sintering, and on September 23 the unnamed patient went into surgery. The hospital reported no complications with the implant.

This is actually smaller than what it's replacing.

There will, weirdly, come a day not too far off when these sorts of procedures aren’t worthy of a mention in the news. Even this one wasn’t really that complex compared to the 2012 transplant of a 3D-printed titanium jaw into an 83-year-old woman. That one required articulated joints and cavities and all sorts of meticulous alterations.

And we’ve been 3D-printing vertebrate since 2014. Point being, if you want to be special, better get something on your body replaced as soon as you can, or else at least make sure you’re the first person who’s new sternum is also a wifi hotspot.