A 12-year-old Chinese boy has become the first person to receive a 3D-printed vertebra implant.
The boy, who had cancer in his spinal cord, received an implant made out of titanium powder at Peking University in a five hour operation, Engadget reported.
No screws or cement are needed to keep the implant in place, while the doctors also made tiny holes in it so surrounding bones can grow into it.
"Although the probability is very low, it is possible that under long-term pressure from inside the body, traditional implants might plug into bones gradually, or become detached from bones. But there will be no such problems for 3D printed implants," Liu Zhongjun, the director of the hospital's orthopaedic department was quoted as saying by Forbes.
It's too early to tell whether the operation is a success as the boy will need to have his head and neck braced for three months. Nevertheless, he is able to stand up for short periods, as the video shows.