An 83-year old woman from Belgium is the first one to be fitted with a jaw transplant that was created using a 3D printer. The custom-made jaw transplant (replacing the lower jaw) was developed in Belgium’s University of Hasselt BIOMED Research Institute, and the 83-year old Belgian woman was the first recipient of a transplant jaw bone that has been custom-made specifically for her face.
The transplant jaw is made out of titanium and consists of these parts: grooves to encourage the regrowth of veins and nerves, articulated joints, and cavities that will be used to encourage the proper attachment of muscles. The 3D design of the transplant jaw was automatically split into 2D layers, and the cross section of these layers was sent to be printed out by a 3D printing machine.
The transplant procedure was done in the Netherlands in June of 2011, but the procedure has just recently been made public. The 83-year old woman was sent home four days after the jaw transplant procedure, and a follow-up surgery is scheduled later this month to deal with the removal of the healing implants that were inserted into holes on the jaw implant‘s surface. A custom made dental bridge will then be attached to the part, after which false teeth will be screwed into the holes to provide a set of teeth restoration or dentures for the patient.
Watch this video to know more about this breakthrough in jaw transplants using 3D printers in the future: