French woman faring well after 3D-printed shoulder implant

On 17 May 2015, a rifle bullet penetrated the shoulder blade of Nathalie Dufaut Danjon, wrecking the bone anatomy but leaving the nerves intact.

The damage was so severe that nothing could be done with standard implants or a traditional prosthesis to facilitate her recovery, according to the 12 surgeons she consulted in a span of six months.

It was at this point that Danjon decided to seek other options, namely 3D printing. She was eventually introduced to Dr. Narcisse Zwetyenga and soon thereafter to Dr. Brice Viard, both surgeons at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Dijon, France.

In collaboration with the 3D printing firm Materialise, the surgeons managed to develop a viable 3D-printed shoulder implant despite the extreme articular destruction of her scapula socket, according to a case report published on 18 September by the company. Danjon was ecstatic upon hearing the news.

"I wanted something positive to come out of the tragedy," she said in a recent interview. "Not to focus on the misery, the hate, the pain, but on everything that is good, everything that is unseen."

Danjon has since regained satisfactory articular mobility, according to Viard.

"The results in the short and medium term are very satisfactory," he said. "For the future, this creates reconstruction possibilities with better conditions and with better results."

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