A Spanish cancer patient has become the first person in the world to have a 3D printed rib cage and sternum implanted in his body.

A 54-year-old man with a cancerous tumor that grew around his rib cage needed part of his sternum and rib cage replaced. Due to the intricacy of this part of the chest, it’s difficult to recreate with prosthetics.

Researchers at The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have created a 3D-printed sternum implant specially designed for patients suffering from cancer.

The 3D implant has a titanium plate that sits over the sternum and the bones of the rib cage are screwed into the 3D printed ribs that extend from the plate.

The patient’s medical team determined that using a 3D-printed prosthetic was the best option because it could be replicated and customized with precision.