3D printing in your face!

Belgium professor Blondeel, who works at the University Hospital of Ghent, and his team of plastic surgeons have successfully executed Belgium’s first full face transplant. What makes this transplant so special is that this was the first time that the procedure was fully planned using digital planning and 3D printing.

In collaboration with Materialise CMF, the team of surgeons completed the pre-operative planning  for both the donor (who gave bone, muscles, veins, nerves and skin) and the recipient. A digital representation of the patient’s anatomy was created using CT data. In order to put the surgical plan into action, anatomical models and patient specific surgical guides were 3D printed for use before and during the operation. The 3D printed guides were used during the procedure to aid the surgeons and allow  them to realize the surgical plan they had created.

The surgery was completed successfully and remarkably the patient is making such great recovery that he regained the ability to speak only six days into recovery.

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