In a world first, surgeons successfully implanted a 3D-printed rib into a hospital patient.

The procedure, which was recently performed at Tokuda Hospital in Bulgaria, used an implant which was crafted out of an FDA-approved material called Nylon 680.

In addition to being drastically cheaper than titanium, the material was used to make the rib in less than 24 hours for the insignificant cost of $114.

According to 3DGence, the company that manufactured the 3D-printer used for the procedure, the material is unique because it can withstand the temperatures necessary for sterilization and it functions much more similarly to an actual rib than titanium implants.

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“The patient, Ivaylo Josifov, was diagnosed with a rib deformation (and) the doctors were concerned that the deformity may progress, and decided to replace the rib with an implant,” Mateusz Sidorowicz, director of marketing at 3DGence, told Digital Trends.

The physicians say that the 35-year-old patient is in “perfect health” after the procedure, and they are already planning on performing additional surgeries with the 3D-printed ‘bones,’ including three ribs along with a sternum.

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“This is a new era in thoracic wall reconstruction for patients with tumors,” says Professor Tzvetan Minchev, Head of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at the hospital.

“The material used has proven tissue compatibility and the accuracy of reproduction allows for large chest wall resections …with individually designed implants.”

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