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12 Apr
3D Printer Used in a Full Facial Reconstruction
full facial reconstruction

There was a post on a major website recently about a young boy who received full facial reconstruction surgery.  The surgery itself was unremarkable, as it was a procedure done many times previously.  What separated this particular case from others was the advent of 3D printing and its use in the surgery.

Unlike in past procedures, the surgical team was able to design a copy of the patient's face and from that, determine the best and safest way to proceed with the surgery.  This marks a major step forward within the 3D printing world and in medicine as well.  One that could have major ramifications in more than one way.

A research team in Seattle, Wash., has also created the first 3D filament that will conduct electricity, and for those in the medical world, this can mean a major step forward in certain transplant surgical procedures.

Currently, a transplant patient must undergo a battery of interviews, tests and rigorous training.  This is all a necessary part of the lifelong medical therapies of anti-rejection drugs.  Couple this to the various complications that can arise from implantation, and the chance of a fully functional, rejection-free organ that will function as well as the original may no longer be a dream.

This possibility will also mean a life free from the expensive drug therapies that weaken the immune system, making the transplant patient more susceptible to infections and disease.  The current ethical dilemmas of transplants, made manifest by the lack of organs and donors, will no longer be an issue as well.  There will be no waiting lists for organs or quandaries of which patient is more deserving of an available organ.

Only time will tell if the technology will catch up, but in the meanwhile, the world of 3D printing continues to grow.