The spine of the patient was corrected and height was added through 3D printing.

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A Unique Solution to a Complex Spinal Issue

Edurne Heredia, a customer service representative, faced daily challenges due to a distinct spinal issue. Her triangular lumbar vertebra, a result of congenital scoliosis, caused discomfort in her hips, knees, and overall body. The physical tasks required in her job only exacerbated her pain, making her search for a solution even more urgent.

After consulting with Dr. Herdeep Singh from UConn Health’s Comprehensive Spine Center, Heredia received an unexpected diagnosis – a congenital hemi-vertebra. Typically, the spine is kept in alignment by the disks between the vertebrae. However, in Heredia’s case, this balance was disrupted, causing her spine to lean and leading to increased degeneration over time. This resulted in more pain and limitations in her daily activities.

Heredia had tried various treatment options, such as medications and injections, but her condition continued to worsen. Traditional solutions, like off-the-shelf implants, weren’t suitable for her unique case. However, Dr. Singh took a different approach.

Dr. Singh and his team collaborated with Carlsmed, a California-based company, to develop a custom-made solution for Heredia’s spinal issue. By utilizing CT scans and MRIs, the team was able to map the surface of her spine effectively. This mapping enabled the creation of custom implants that perfectly fit the topography of her bones.

The surgical implantation of these custom spacers proved to be a success for Heredia. She experienced significant improvement, including enhanced posture, reduced pain levels, and even a slight increase in height. Although her spine may never achieve complete straightness, the transformation was substantial.

The success of Heredia’s case highlights the potential of 3D printing in the medical field. By collaborating with the medical sector, the 3D printing industry can offer more personalized solutions for intricate challenges. This advancement opens up a world of possibilities for individuals facing unique medical issues.

As Heredia continues her recovery journey, estimated to be around 18 months, her story serves as a testament to the power of innovative solutions. Through collaboration and cutting-edge technology, individuals like Heredia can find relief and live a more comfortable life. The future of healthcare holds immense potential, thanks to advancements like 3D printing, and the possibilities for personalized, tailored solutions are endless.

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