Futuristic Medicine: 3D Printed Jaw Implant Rescues 83-Year-Old Woman
In a groundbreaking first in the medical field, a team from the University of Hasselt has created a method for using 3D printing to fabricate a functioning lower jaw implant that rescued their patient from a massive infection.
“The introduction of printed implants can be compared to man’s first venture on the moon: a cautious, but firm step,” said Professor Jules Poukens of BIOMED.
The patient was an 83-year-old woman who was suffering from a major infection in her mandible. Traditional treatments, such as removing the lower jaw, would result in greatly decreased quality of life. Luckily, this medical team of doctors from the University of Hasselt, Belgium, partnered with engineers from Xios University College, SIRRIS, Xilloc Medical BV in Belgium, and the department of Cranio-, Maxillo-Facial surgery of Orbis Medical Center Sittard-Geleen in The Netherlands to develop an innovative treatment using 3D printing.
“Computer technology will cause a veritable revolution in the medical world. We just need to learn to work with it,” added Professor Jules Poukens. “Doctors and engineers together around the design computer and the operation table: that’s what we call being truly innovative.”
Pictured above and below, Dr. Ivo Lambrichts holds the 3D printed mandible. It was fabricated using a titanium powder in only a few hours. Typical methods to create implants usually take days.
Within 1 day after surgery, the patient had normal functioning speech, swallowing and movement.
Congratulations to this team for their major achievement!