Jaw Replacement Designed By 3D Printer
An 83-year-old women has been retrofitted with a new jaw, in what is being hailed as a first-of-its kind surgery from a prothesis designed in a 3D printer. The artificial jaw, designed by Belgium metal-parts manufacturer, LaywerWise, is a seriously complex piece of equipment, including “cavities to promote muscle attachment and grooves to direct the regrowth of nerves and veins.”
The fitting was completed in 4 hours, 1/5 the time it would take for traditional reconstructive surgery.
3D-printed organs have been a hot topic of the national dialog, at least since Anthony Atala printed a kidney on stage at the TED conference. The fascinating talk describes how organs can be printed directly into humans, who act like paper at the bottom of a human-sized printer.
For the time being, LayerWise engineer Ruben Wauthle, tells the BBC that metal powder is the best substitute for organic tissue. “”At the moment we use metal powder for printing. To print organic tissue and bone you would need organic material as your ‘ink’. Technically it could be possible – but there is still a long way to go before we’re there.”