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Doctors at the University of Virginia Health Center lead innovations in custom spine implants

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Spine implants do not have to be one size fits all any more. Doctors at the University of Virginia Health System are customizing to each patient’s unique spine shape to provide personalized care.

Normally, doctors put block spacers in place of the discs in one’s spine. The problem with that is that they can be uncomfortable because bones have abnormal shapes. It can be hard to find a block to fit in between.

“They 3D print in titanium to exactly the shape that it needs to be,” Dr. Justin Smith, the co-director of the UVA Spine Center, said. “So it’s as customized as you can possibly get to that patient. And so, they probably wouldn’t fit in another patient very well; it’s that customized. it’s way beyond what’s currently available.”

UVA Health has already started implanting these. Doctors say it is the first center on the East Coast to offer this.

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