World's 1st thumb bone replacement announced

World's 1st thumb bone replacement announced

The thumb bone surgery picture is screened at a press conference at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday to show the world's first successful replacement of a first metacarpal thumb bone with a titanium prosthesis. (Photo courtesy of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Engineering)
The thumb bone surgery picture is screened at a press conference at Phramongkutklao Hospital in Bangkok on Tuesday to show the world's first successful replacement of a first metacarpal thumb bone with a titanium prosthesis. (Photo courtesy of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Engineering)

Phramongkutklao Hospital and Chulalongkorn University on Tuesday announced the world's first successful replacement of a first metacarpal thumb bone with a titanium prosthesis.

Representatives from the hospital and the university's engineering faculty made the announcement at the Bangkok medical centre, detailing the procedure involving a 37-year-old woman whose first metacarpal of the right hand was damaged by a giant-cell tumour in the bone.

The Faculty of Engineering was responsible for the design and construction of the titanium prosthesis and orthopaedists of the hospital designed tendon connectors and performed two operations.

Medical personnel first scanned the healthy left thumb and applied mirror imaging and 3D printing to create a resin model for the casting of the locally made prosthesis. Production took a week.

In the first operation in June, the damaged bone was removed. After it was confirmed that the tumour did not recur, the second surgery was performed in late September during which the titanium bone was attached.

Four months later, the patient has neither rejected the prosthesis nor suffered any pain and can use her thumb as before.

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