Dec 6, 2014 | By Kira

3D printing is widely discussed in the media for the novel and creative ways it can be used, however its applications in the medical industry are not just exciting—they are hands-down revolutionary.

Case in point: A cancer patient in Bangalore, India has undergone a life-changing surgical procedure in which 3D printed medical models were used to re-construct his jaw. Without the surgery, the man would have faced a lifetime of challenges including difficulty eating, speaking, and re-integrating into society.

An image of the patient's jaw before the procedure

Patient's jaw after the surgery.

The patient, 'Mr. P,' had an oral benign and malignant cancer tumor on his right jaw that need to be surgically removed in order to prevent the disease from spreading further.

In this situation, patients must undergo a micro vascular free bone transfer. In this difficult procedure, the lost bone in the patient's face is re-constructed with bone from other parts of the body—preferably the fibula, a leg bone located in the calf next to the tibia. The removed fibula is then contoured to match the defect (in this case, the jaw bone), and the blood vessels are joined in the neck. The vessels from the fibula are required to keep the bone alive.

However, attempting to contour the straight fibula along the curved jaw bone is extremely challenging for doctors. Luckily, 3D printing has emerged as a viable solution.

The straight fibula bone is used to replace the defected jaw bone. Image via Wikipedia

Osteo3D, a subsidiary business of Indian/German 3D printing and design company df3d, stepped up to assist with Mr. P's bone transfer surgery. Osteo3D has previously built an upper jaw prosthetic for another Indian cancer patient, and it is clear that they intend to continue revolutionizing the medical sector with their 3D printing technology.

The company focuses on the medical applications of 3D printing technology by designing, developing, and 3D printing surgical guides and medical models (three-dimensional representations of a part of the human body.) Healthcare professionals can use these for surgical planning and re-construction, ultimately reducing the duration of the actual surgical procedure while creating more efficient and accurate results.

In the case of the micro vascular free bone transfer, 3D printed models of the patient's jaw bone are used to generate calculations that help the surgical team get as close to the normal shape and size of the original bone as possible.

Mr. P's cancer required the removal of the right half of his mandible. Dr. Satyajit Dadagi planned the reconstruction using a 3D printed model of the young man's jaw prepared by Osteo3D.

In the operation theatre, the diseased jaw bone and its blood vessels were removed. The straight fibula bone was then contoured to match the size and shape of the 3D printed jaw bone model, and once everything lined up, the bone was fixed to the defected area and reconstructed.

3D printed medical model of the jaw bone.

Having completed the initial surgery successfully, the patient was left to heal for a few weeks before receiving teeth implants. After full recovery, he can return to normal life.

Osteo3D has fully utilized the life-changing—and potentially life-saving—opportunities that 3D printing provides in the healthcare industry. From the doctor's perspective, 3D printing takes out the guesswork and provides the most accurate measurements possible. From the patient's perspective, however, 3D printing has improved his quality of his entire life, taking what could have been a tragic scenario, and turning it into a truly inspiring success story.

The procedure was conducted by maxillo-facial surgeon Dr. Satyajith Dandagi along with his team: Dr. Chavan Purushotam, Dr. Pruthvi Balepur and Dr. Ahutosh Patil.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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alvaro wrote at 12/7/2014 3:35:39 PM:

Once again this amazing technology came to rescue us

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