LONDON – A British man who suffered horrific facial injuries in a motorbike accident has had pioneering surgery to rebuild his face using 3-D printed parts.
Stephen Power from Cardiff, Wales, is thought to be one of the first trauma patients to have a procedure in which 3-D printing was used at every stage.
The 29-year-old suffered multiple trauma injuries in an accident in 2012. Despite wearing a crash helmet, his top jaw, nose and both cheek bones were broken and he fractured his skull.
Surgeons said that by using 3-D printing techniques, much of the guesswork was removed from the reconstruction of the face. The result is a face that is remarkably similar to Power’s before the accident.
The team at Morriston Hospital in Swansea used CT scans to create and print a 3-D model of his skull, followed by cutting guides and plates.
The surgical team had to re-fracture Power’s cheekbones, following the cutting guides, before remodeling the face. A titanium implant, printed in Belgium, was used to hold the bones in place.
Surgeon Adrian Sugar said Wednesday: “Without this advanced technology, it’s freehand. . . . The technology allows us to be far more precise and get a better result for the patient.”