Mar 1, 2016 | By Tess

3D printing technologies have once again helped to change someone’s life for the better, this time by helping a teen to overcome and recover from a serious car accident.

Just one year ago, Jake Reynolds, a now 18 year old from Phoenix, Arizona was brutally hit by a vehicle traveling 25-30 miles per hour. The impact, which sent Reynold’s head through the car’s front windshield, left the young man with severely damaged facial bones and significant internal damage. Luckily for Reynolds, who was rushed to the HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix, Dr. Pablo Prichard was on duty and he knew exactly how to help the injured youth.

After dealing with the internal damage of reconstructing muscles, nerve endings, and salivary glands, Dr. Prichard CT scanned Reynolds’ face and used the data and mirror imaging to create a 3D model of the damaged part of Reynolds’ skull. From the CT scan, Dr. Prichard, who had never before used 3D printing for facial reconstruction, filled the area where Reynolds’ bone had died with an antibiotic bone cement and sent the 3D model to a 3D printing service to be additively manufactured.

Typically, metal plates and screws would be used in the reconstruction process but because of the severity of the damage to the patient’s bones, which were completely crushed, Dr. Prichard opted to use 3D printing technologies to helpin the process. “The idea just came from the fact that we’ve used this technology before in the more common way as far as the skull defects and simpler objects,” said Dr. Prichard. “[It’s] basically kind of extending our previous experience in a more complicated way.”

Since the accident, Reynolds has undergone a number of facial reconstruction surgeries with Dr. Prichard and the results are astounding. With the final surgery scheduled for June, where the permanent implant will be put in, Reynolds’ face looks practically back to normal, and the young man can lead his life as usual.

Reynolds and his parents have expressed immense gratitude to Dr. Prichard and the technology he was able to use. “They just think it’s so amazing and how lucky I am to have all these advancements, especially in modern technology today,” explained Reynolds. “There’s just tons out there for me, and if this was to happen 20 years ago … I sure would not look nearly as good as I do now.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration first approved of the 3D printed facial implant in 2014, though to date the technology has rarely been used, and is still being experimented with by doctors. After the success of Jake Reynolds’ surgeries and 3D printed facial implant, Dr. Prichard intends to keep using the technology, but only in extreme cases.

“Obviously, there are times where you can just reconstruct the area with the patient’s own natural bone because the bone isn’t as crushed and still has a blood supply,” he said. “This is basically if all else fails. As a surgeon, you’re trying to be on the cutting edge of technology, and you want to use traditional methods and then kind of marry them with those newer technologies, that can make your reconstructions and results just that much better.”

As Reynolds can enjoy a quality of life similar to before his accident, Dr. Prichard is planning on using the same 3D modeling and printing procedure to help reconstruct the face of a police officer severely injured by a shot in the face.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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