…For one 40-year-old Chinese man, named Yang Xue-bin, 3D printing literally gave him his legs and his life back, after being diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis, a debilitating medical condition that quickly unleashed its wrath on Xue-bin, leaving him unable to walk in just a matter of days.
For those unfamiliar with the condition, cervical spinal stenosis is the abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, which causes restriction of the canal, and ultimately results in numbness, pain, and in many cases, loss of motor control. For Yang Xue-bin, the symptoms came on quickly and hit extremely hard. He had no idea that he was suffering from this condition until September 23, when he began noticing that his legs were going numb. Then he realized that he was having a very difficult time walking, before ultimately needing a wheelchair to get around. This all happened in a matter of weeks, as Xue-bin was quickly diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis.
“I feel that my life was going to be end up with me sitting in the wheelchair,” explained Xue-bin, in talking about how he felt prior to the surgery.
The blood flow in Xue-bin’s spinal cord was greatly disrupted, and the root of the nerves were being severely compressed. “Due to the compression of the nerves, he suffered the symptoms [of] not being able to move his legs,” explained Liu Hao, the deputy director of the Department of Orthopedics at West China Hospital of Sichuan University. “Cervical posterior single open-door laminoplasty is the classical operation method for the treatment of cervical spinal canal stenosis. The key to successfully conducting the operation is about accurately determining the slot position for the lamina. Luckily, thanks for the 3D printed guide, the operation turned out efficient and successful.” …
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!