3d printing continues to take us boldly into the brave new world of the 21st century, and not surprisingly medical applications are at the top of the innovation ladder, since replacement parts are always in demand.
Recently, an entire mandible was created in a 3d printer by mixing titanium with the printing compound, and an elderly woman got a new lease on life thanks to the 3d printing of this replacement part. Here's the scoop:
The patient was an elderly woman of 83 years who had developed a chronic bone infection in her lower jaw. Reconstructive surgery would be risky (and expensive) at her age so they decided to try something new – an operation that is literally the first of its kind.
They crafted a brand new jaw for her, made from titanium powder fused in a 3D printer. The complex body part comes complete with articulated joints, cavities to promote muscle attachment, and grooves to direct regrowth of nerves and veins. It will also be equipped with a specially made dental bridge into which false teeth can be screwed into holes. That will happen later this month during a follow-up surgery.
The operation was done in June last year, but has only recently been publicized – probably because they decided to make sure it actually worked first!
And work it did: our lovely old granny got to walk away from the hospital only four days after a surgery that only took four hours – a fifth of the time it would have taken to do a traditional reconstructive surgery. The day after the surgery the woman was already able to swallow with her new mouth!
Now, doctors just need to team up with Pirate Bay and start sending bones to each other via torrent file. Modern medicine just keeps getting cooler and cooler!
Link --image credit: organprinter