3D Printer Used To Make Transplant Jawbone
An articulated jawbone implant made from titanium powder heated and fused in a 3D printer was used in a successful reconstructive maxillofacial surgery of an 83 year-old woman from the Netherlands.
(3D articulated jawbone printed)
The patient involved had developed a chronic bone infection. Doctors believed reconstructive surgery would have been risky because of her age and so opted for the new technology.
The implant is a complex part - involving articulated joints, cavities to promote muscle attachment and grooves to direct the regrowth of nerves and veins.
However, once designed, it only took a few hours to print.
A 3D printer was used to make the synthetic jawbone. "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," Ruben Wauthle, LayerWise's medical applications engineer, told the BBC...
Once completed, the part was given a bioceramic coating.
SF fans may recall the artiforgs, or artificial organs, from Philip K. Dick's 1964 novel Cantata 140.
Readers might also recall the Biltong life forms from Dick's 1956 short story Pay for the Printer; these organisms were able to rapidly replicate any object in a process that is remarkably similar to today's rapid prototyping or stereolithography:
On the concrete platform, in front of the dying Biltong, lay a heap of original to be duplicated. Beside them, a few prints had been commenced, unformed balls of black ash mixed with the moisture of the Biltong's body, the juice from which it laboriously constructed its prints.
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