Dr. Gershon Zinger, director of the Hand Surgery Unit and his 13-year-old patient with a 3D printed part made especially for her wrist.

A 21-year-old man was rushed to Shaare Zedek after suffering a series of seizures at home. He was quickly diagnosed with bacterial meningitis that was causing a buildup of pressure inside his head, and on his brain. Medications did not work, his condition declined and he was soon sedated and on a respirator.

“We are talking about a rare case where the infection was so strong that it resulted in an increase in intracranial pressure and put his life at risk,” Neurosurgeon Dr. John Whinestone explained. “Few patients with such symptoms survive.”

The patient was rushed to the operating room where surgeons relieved the intracranial pressure by removing 15 centimeters of his skull. Recently, a new piece was implanted in place of the portion of his skull that was removed. The implant was created on a 3D printer and designed to perfectly match the patient’s needs.

Dr. Nevo Margalit, Chief of Neurosurgery, remarked, “Today, this young man is walking, talking, drinking and can function, something that is very hard to believe when one thinks back to those very tough hours during the night that he was rst brought to the hospital.”

Previously, a 13-year-old girl became the first Israeli to receive a body part produced on a 3D printer. After a CT scan revealed congenital malformations near both of her wrists that were causing pain and limiting her range of motion, Dr. Gershon Zinger, director of the Hand Surgery Unit, had a part made to order to repair her right arm.

To plan and produce a 3D accessory, bone image tests are analyzed by an advanced system which views all of the angles of the given object. The company then creates a customized accessory that is attached with magnets and placed on the ailing limb. This enables precise cutting and insertion of the screws to the bone.

“We performed four incisions at very precise angles [in her right arm], including the placement of three screws that entered perfectly without deviation from the joint or incision,” Dr. Zinger said. “This is very difficult to complete without printing.”

Post-surgery, the girl reported a significant decrease in pain and a CT scan showed bone fusion taking place. Dr. Zinger planned a similar procedure on her left arm,  to allow her to enjoy full use of her arms and have the opportunity to focus on her favorite hobby of learning languages.