Surgeons from Morriston Hospital in Swansea, England, are using 3D printing in order to rebuild the face of a patient, who had a terrible motorbike accident. The doctors use the technique of 3D printing and CT scanning to design titanium implants for the face of the patient.
It’s groundbreaking, because this kind of injury-related reconstructing is thought to be among the first of the world. Custom-made titanium has been used before to correct congenital conditions from young babies, but this is thought to be the first of such reconstructing following an injury.
Peter Evans, a reconstructive scientist who works on this project, has said the following about this case: “The patient suffered trauma and had multiple injuries across his body, including some quite severe facial injuries. He underwent emergency surgery at the time and we are now at the stage where we can do a proper reconstruction of his face.”
The surgeons worked from a CT Scan to create a mirror image of the ‘bright’ side of the patient’s face. With this information they were able to very accurately cut and position the bones and implants, which are being produced at a specialist 3D printing facility in Belgium.
“We have done everything up the point of surgery,” adds Evans. “The concept of the operation has been virtually designed and we hope to do the work very soon. The patient’s facial symmetry will be restored so he should be back to normal as far as his facial looks are concerned.”
This project is featured in the exhibition ‘3D Printing the Future’ at the Science Museum in London until July 1, 2014.