A 41 year old cancer patient in Bangalore found himself in need of a prosthetic jaw after he lost a portion of his upper jaw following surgery to remove a tumor. The loss of his jaw made it hard for him to speak and eat, and it was disfiguring as well. Doctors decided they needed to create a prosthetic for him so that he could live a normal life. However, they were faced with a problem, normally a prosthetic would be created by making an impression of the existing jaw. But radiation treatment had left the patient unable to open his mouth wider than two centimeters. This meant it was impossible for doctors to make an impression of his jaw to create the prosthetic.
This is where modern advances in 3d printing came to the rescue. Using CT scans a 3d model of the patient’s jaw was able to be created without the patient even having to open his mouth. Once the computer model was created, a 3d printer created a life size model of the patient’s upper and lower jaw. This model allowed doctors to take the impression that they could not take from the actual patient. A wax model was created, coated with acrylic and then teeth were added to complete the prosthetic jaw. The jaw was put into the patient and was as good a fit as doctors could have created with traditional methods. Now with the prosthetic jaw the patient is once again able to eat, speak and smile, improving his life in ways that would not be possible without 3d printing.
Main Image Credit: www.3dprint.com