3D printing is a technology that is widely used in the medical field. Recently, a girl suffering from a rare facial defect called Tessier facial cleft found new hope from 3D medical printing. The Tessier facial cleft is a condition that leaves a fissure on the skull. In most cases, patients suffering from this condition need to undergo complicated surgeries that may put their lives at risk.
The patient, Violet Pietrok, was born without a nose because of her condition. Moreover, her eyes were also set far apart thus affecting her vision. Undergoing surgery is her best option. But attending surgeon Dr. John Meara from Boston Children’s Hospital used the revolutionary 3D medical printing technology to treat Violet’s condition.
He obtained 3D printed models of Violet’s skull and sliced the model to get a better sense of the current condition of the patient. To get the accurate image of the patient’s skull, Violet was asked to undergo a CT scan and other imaging tests.
The 3D-printed model of Violet’s skull was created using layers of plastic instead of ink. A second layer was added to mimic the exact thickness of the patient’s skill. By using the 3D model of Violet’s skull, Dr. Meara and his team was able to repair Violet’s skull without putting her to a lot of risks.
3D printed models are indeed transforming medical science and technology as it gives surgeons a lot of opportunities to hone their craft and, at the same time, protect their patients from suffering too many complications during procedures.