In 3D printing, a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape is made from a digital model. It is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes.
Oxford Performance Materials said the surgery done last week was the first time a patient received an implant made specifically for him using 3-D printing and a high-performance polymer.
The operation was an advancement of 3-D printing technology -- with 3-D printers, users can produce objects with a molding machine based on computer digital models, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The 3-D printing technology is custom-shaped to each patient's anatomy, the company said.
Scott DeFelice, president and chief executive of Oxford Performance Materials, said 3-D printing allows any bone to be replaced with an implant, shortens surgery time, and is less risky and less expensive.