Edward's sternum needed to be replaced, so we partnered with Anatomics to 3D print a titanium and polymer sternum - the first of its kind.

BBC image of the 3D model

An computer generated image of the 3D printed device in the ribcage

BBC’s recent “Trust me I’m a doctor” celebrated the success of the world first surgery. Image: BBC

We’ve been quietly working away in Melbourne on something big. The big trifecta of a bone, cartilage and tissue implant. The first of its kind.

More specifically, a 3D printed titanium and polymer sternum to suit individual patients.  

Feeling like you’ve already heard about this? That’s because in 2015 we partnered with Anatomics to 3D print a sternum and rib implant for a Spanish cancer patient.

Two years on, through our partnership with Anatomics we’ve managed to build something even more impressive. The first time we only had the 3D printed titanium sternum (just the bones). This time we designed and manufactured a 3D printed titanium and polymer sternum (bone, cartilage and tissue). All in a single prosthetic implant.

The 3D printed sternum

The 3D printed titanium and polymer sternum was a perfect fit.

The polymer, PoreStar, is an exciting new development because it replicates cartilage and soft tissue. It’s a lightweight, porous polyethylene which acts as a soft tissue component.

The most impressive part is that this advanced titanium and plastic sternum has been successfully surgically implanted in 61-year-old Edward Evans’ body, and he’s made a successful recovery.

Edward had a rare infection in his sternum which required his sternum to be removed and patched up with his own muscle. After he recovered from the infection, the novel implant was surgically added. Success was determined when motion caption cameras showed Edward’s ribs moving in and out, in synchrony with his breathing.

The titanium and polymer sternum replacement was designed by Anatomics and was modelled exactly to CT scans of the patient. We 3D printed the sternum then Anatomics added the polymer. It was then shipped to the United Kingdom where a surgical team implanted the sternum in the British man. Truly a team effort.

Interested in our cutting edge tech and materials we use for biomedicine?


  1. I was born with my sternum touching my spine I’ve had 5 surgeries since I was 13 years old to try to correct it. Just before my last surgery the weak cartilage tore my sternum sunk in my ribs squeezed my heart stopping it that was 20 years ago now but over the 20 years the sternum has sunken in some again and my left collar bone is also sunken in more again I live a good amount of pain & many limitation every day and due to all I went through while in the hospital after each surgery when one of the surgical steel rods pushed out my left side through the skin three days after one of the five surgeries then let out of hospital three days later the second rod pushes out my left side rushed to hospital 3 hours away 2:00am each time now they install a bar that goes under sternum wires into 6th rib on either side surgeon forgets about my for 9 years one wire breaks on right side bar pushes out my left side one day though skin now this is a flat steel bar looks like a hacksaw blade with one wire run through bar and rib then twisty tide with extra wire snipped off then while I was in the operating room they gave me an iv of vanco a antibiotic I deathly allergic to all my skin i’m talking any skin tissue on my body burned/melted off I was a man with no face or skin moved to burn unit then got staff infection then was in quarantine area for awhile now I live with very sensitive skin lots of constant pain and severe anxiety from all the crap I went though my nervous systems is all messed up i’m 39 now will be 40 this summer living life like this is now much fun but I try to make the best of it. The other day my cousin showed me this article the other day on his news feed he said is was on tv but I don’t really watch tv but this looks amazing this would make my life so much better!!

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  3. I’d be up for a new knee with cartelidge… anytime… muzz carrington 2294?

    1. Instituto Ortopedico Rizzoli is working in this line.

  4. Looking forward to spinal implants!

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