Print 9 comment(s) - last by Murloc.. on Feb 7 at 7:16 PM

  (Source: United Artists)
She will receive a follow-up surgery later this month

An 83-year-old woman has received the first custom entire lower jaw implant using a 3D printed model.

Belgium and Dutch scientists from the BIOMED Research Institute at the University of Hasselt in Belgium, along with surgeons from the Orbis Centre in Sittard-Geleen, Xilloc Medical BV, Maastricht and Cam bioceramics BC in the Netherlands, have successfully replaced the entire lower jaw of an elderly woman for the first time using 3D printing technology.

The woman's lower jaw was terribly infected and was completely removed. Traditionally, microsurgical reconstructive surgery is used, but in this case, the process was too time-consuming and dangerous.

Instead, the scientists and surgeons created a custom implant using 3D printing technology. They were able to do this by using a 3D printer, which printed layers of titanium powder. At the same time, a laser is used to bind particles together correctly.

"Once we received the 3D digital design, the part was split up automatically into 2D layers and then we sent those cross sections to the printing machine," said Ruben Wauthle, medical applications engineer for LayerWise. "It used a laser beam to melt successive thin layers of titanium powder together to build the part. This was repeated with each cross section melted to the previous layer. It took 33 layers to build 1mm of height, so you can imagine there were many thousand layers necessary to build this jawbone."

A bioceramic coating is then applied to the implant, which is compatible with the tissue of the patient.

The end result was a brand-new lower jaw that weighed 107 grams. This is just over a third heavier than her real jaw, but researchers said she was able to get used to the weight difference quickly. The time needed to create the implant was much shorter and less riskier than traditional methods, taking only a few hours rather than a few days.

"The advantages are that the surgery time decreases because the implants perfectly fit the patients and hospitalization time also lowers -- all reducing medical costs," said Wauthle. "You can build parts that you can't create using any other technique. For example, you can print porous titanium structures which allow bone in-growth and allow a better fixation of the implant, giving it a longer lifetime."

Only one day after receiving the new jaw implant, the woman was able to speak and eat. The operation was performed in June 2011.

Later this month, a follow-up surgery is scheduled to remove the healing implants that were built into the implant's surface. Once those are removed, a dental bridge will be attached to the jaw, where dentures will be applied.

Source: 3ders

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Losing Battle
By btc909 on 2/6/2012 2:40:48 PM , Rating: 4
"and Mike Tyson" has a solid punch to the 83 year old jaw, she looks back & says "is that all you've got Mike" - Mike's hand is broken & the fight is ended.

RE: Losing Battle
By wordsworm on 2/6/2012 9:48:23 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe, but her ears aren't made of titanium. After the fight they'd have to 3D her a new ear.

The fifth element...
By MrBlastman on 2/6/2012 1:51:41 PM , Rating: 2
On a smaller scale. :)

I wonder how much it cost? Those 3-D printers are pretty nifty so it was only a matter of time to try this in medicine.

RE: The fifth element...
By Paj on 2/7/2012 7:37:48 AM , Rating: 3
This tech is pretty amazing. EADS are already using it to design replacement parts for aircraft with complex internal structures, resulting in lighter weight and greater strength.

Theres some great videos on TED about the subject too. One in particular was a bout a guy who is trying to print a human kidney! Mindblowing stuff.

I think once this tech matures it's going to be very disruptive. Manufacturing will be turned on its head - China's manufacturing base will be severely affected.

By Pessimism on 2/7/2012 1:52:40 PM , Rating: 2
If titanium is used in medical hardware already due to it being unreactive in the body, why is a ceramic coating needed on this prosthetic? Doesn't that just introduce opportunity for the coating to fail and problems to arise?

RE: hmm
By Murloc on 2/7/2012 7:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
I guess that the tissue can't grow on and attach itself to metal directly.

One step closer...
By thuff on 2/6/2012 1:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
to getting a role as Wolverine's mom.

By Bubbacub on 2/7/2012 11:48:20 AM , Rating: 2
all porous coated trabecular metal uncemented acetabular components for hip replacement have used this technology for over 10 years.

they have a 3d scan of the internal structure of bone somewhere and they use that to print a thick layer of titanium with the microstructure of bone over the outside surface of the 'socket' of a hip replacement.

you bash it in and after 6 weeks the body will have grown a load of new bone into all the little holes in the titanium shell.

we've been making custom made implants e.g. femur based off ct scans for many years now also.

very cool article - but its not really that new.

I can haz
By ViroMan on 2/7/2012 8:21:41 AM , Rating: 1
... titanium teeth with new titanium jaws?

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