A 3D printer-created lower jaw has been fitted to an 83-year-old woman’s face in what doctors say is the first operation of its kind. A multidisciplinary team of engineers and clinicians led by The Functional Morphology Research Group at the University of Hasselt BIOMED Research Institute has created what they believe to be the very first complete 3D-printed lower jaw. Following an MRI scan of the patient’s own diseased mandible, the new mandible was created using laser printing of titanium powder to create a custom 3D implant. The implant is a little heavier than a natural lower jaw weighing in at approximately 107 grams. It was printed in a matter of hours before being sprayed with an artificial bone coating and finally being polished. The new jaw was made for an 83 year old woman who had her entire mandible removed in order to prevent the spread of osteomyelitis and retain an open airway and basic swallowing and chewing functions. The surgery, which took place in June of last year, lasted less than four hours and within one day of the operation the patient regained basic speech and swallowing functions.
Out of all 291 conditions studied in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 Study, neck pain ranked 4th highest in terms of disability and 21st in terms of overall burden.