In a first of its kind surgery, a dental surgeon in Britain has successfully used 3D printing technology to re-build a, 3D-printed prosthetic face for a cancer victim.
The patient, Eric Moger, was diagnosed with a large tumor under the skin of his face, four years ago. While the surgery to remove the tumor was successful, it left him with a gaping hole on the left hand side of his face. As a result of the cancer Eric lost his left eye, cheek bone and a major part of his jaw.
Post the cancer surgery, he was eating and drinking through tubes as liquid would flow outside his face if he tried drinking through his mouth. It was also very difficult for him to talk too. Plastic surgery in his case did not help either because of the side effects of the ongoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Now with a 3D-printed prosthetic face, Moger is on cloud nine. He can now eat as well as drink like normal people and he is amazed by the transformation of his looks.
Speaking about this prosthetic face, he stated:
"When I had that first glass of water wearing the prosthetic face, nothing came out — it was amazing."
The doctor credited with this highly successful, state-of-the-art procedure is Andrew Dawood, a dental surgeon and implant specialist. While describing the procedure Dr Dawood stated:
"We put the CT scan and facial scan together and used software to plan what we wanted him to look like."
This blueprint was then used to create a prototype face out of nylon plastic. Dr Dawood has been practicing using 3D printing to create replicas of jaw bones for the past couple of years, but this is the first time he has actually helped build a face prosthetic.
Dr Dawood hopes that soon this procedure can be used in printing on silicone too.