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Israeli doctors use 3D printing to rebuild injured Syrian man’s face

Now 3D printing implants is a complicated business as it is, but the jaw is particularly difficult to reproduce. After all, it’s completely filled moving parts that need to work perfectly – humans can get by with a limping leg, but they need to eat and drink. Dr Yoav Leiser and his team therefore relied on CT scanning and 3D printing to produce a 3D printed titanium ‘Patient Specific Implant’ (or PSI), and the procedure proved to be very successful. Surgery was performed by Leiser and Professor Adi Rachmiel, director of Rambam’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. 

3D printing proved to play a critical role in this case, as traditionally made PSI’s for jaws are an absolute nightmare. Consisting of numerous individual plates that need to be screwed together, it’s an arduous process to make and fit. 3D printing instead produced just a single part, that could be developed before surgery rather than during. However, as Mohammed doesn’t actually exist in the Israeli medical system, they had to greatly rely on statistical models as well. The 3D printed implant has been developed by the Israeli company AB Dental, who specialize in produce dental implants. While most of their products are traditionally put together, no expensive was spared to save the Syrian’s life, and fortunately AB Dental also owned a Stratasys 3D printer.

Three months later 23-year-old called Mohammed has been doing well. Soon after the implant was attached to his jaw, Mohammed was able to eat and drink unassisted. While the procedure isn’t finished yet (his teeth need to be fully repaired too), Mohammed has already been smuggled back to his family who likely thought him dead. However, he has vowed to return to Israel to complete the process.

Following this great success, Israeli doctors are already planning to repeat the process on three other patients. And as there’s no end in sight in the disastrous Syrian/Iraqi civil war (it has just entered its fifth year already), many more civilian casualties will likely follow. Fortunately, 3D printing is proving to be an excellent medical instrument for operations involving heavy tissue and bone damage.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications