The University of Hasselt (Belgium) announced today that Belgian and Dutch scientists have successfully replacing a lower jaw with a 3D printed model for a 83 year-old woman. According to the researchers, It is the first custom-made implant in the world to replace an entire lower jaw.
The lower jaw of the elderly woman was badly infected and needed to be removed. Considering the age of the patient, a “classical” microsurgical reconstructive surgery takes too long time and can be risky. Therefore a tailor-made implant is the best choice.
Normally it takes a few days to produce a custom implant, but with 3D printing technology it takes only a few hours.
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Why not make it with teeth, or at least mounting-holes?
the patient is 83 and they already know how to make dentured the old fashioned way.
For the same reason that our teeth aren’t connected to the jaw bones: under a lot of stress on the teeth (e.g. biting on something really hard, or clenching teeth together) the bone itself is at risk of breaking which complicates the injury.
I wonder if Roger Ebert would be interested in such a solution, and if it would even work for him.
In several places I have noted hip replacement is too expensive, but could be made into a production lijne – MRI, send the info to a 3d printer to make the replacement joint, and have technician surgeons that do just opening, closing, or the simpler stuff.