Professor Hutmacher (R) demonstrating the chest implant with Dr Matthew Cheng (L).  Credit: QUT
Original Published Date: 
Thursday, July 23, 2020

Full article issued by the Queensland Univeristy of Technology (QUT).

A world-first 3D printed chest reconstruction implant that has changed the life of a young medical student is the outcome of years of research led by QUT Distinguished Professor Dietmar W. Hutmacher, an internationally-recognised researcher and multiple ARC grant recipient, who pioneered the use of patient-specific 3D printed scaffolds to repair bone and other tissue.

The implant has corrected a birth defect called funnel or sunken chest, whereby the ribs and sternum grow inwards, giving a concave appearance.

Professor Hutmacher, who is the director of the ARC Industrial Transformation Centre in Additive Biomanufacturing at QUT’s Centre for Biomedical Technologies, said the implant was made from porous, biodegradable material. 

The flexible implant, which unlike bone scaffolds contained no rigid ceramics, was made to fit precisely over the chest deformity to allow the patient’s own blood vessels and fat tissue to grow into the implant to create a lasting normal shaped chest. 

“Our research with Dr Matthew Cheng over the past five years has shown that an implant injected with the patient’s own fat at the time of implantation would give the best chance of success,” says Professor Hutmacher.

The surgery at Princess Alexandra was performed by Dr Michael Wagels, an Adjunct Professor with QUT, who has collaborated closely with Professor Hutmacher for many years.

Photo credit: 

Image: Professor Hutmacher (R) demonstrating the chest implant with Dr Matthew Cheng (L). Credit: Metro South Health .