South Korean Surgeons Use 3D Printed Guides for Removing Cancer & Rebuilding Jawbone in One Surgery

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If you or a loved one have been affected by cancer, then you know how devastating the disease can be, taking millions of lives around the world each year. As so many individuals offer whatever support they can, and researchers diligently work to find cures and better treatments, new technology is helping to give patients a better chance as surgeons have better tools.

3D printing has made its mark on the medical field, and continues to do so. Devices, guides, and models can often be made easily, quickly, and affordably—offering a wide range of benefits. Advances we never dreamed of are being made thanks to 3D printing, along with new inventions that continue to surprise and inspire all of us.

South Korea has been eager to embrace 3D printing and the industrial revolution that continues to progress globally. They have been active in creating hardware, as well as upgrading industry such as shipbuilding and also beginning to explore 3D printing on the nanoscale for electronics and wearables. South Korea has really shone, however, in using 3D printing to help improve the quality of patients’ lives. And they have made some pretty big headlines in the past couple of years too; after all, it would be pretty hard to ignore cases like a 3D printed skull that saved a South Korean woman’s life, a 3D printed heel bone that allowed a Korean veteran to avoid amputation, or 3D printing with silk to create medical implants.

Professor Baek Chung-hwan of the department of otolaryngology at Samsung Medical Center uses recently developed 3D printing model and bone cutting guidance to reconstruct the jawbone. [Image courtesy of Samsung Medical Center]

Now, the research team at Samsung Medical Center has announced that they have a successful method for using 3D printing to rebuild the jawbones of oral cancer patients. Led by Professor Baek Chung-hwan of the department of otolaryngology, the medical team created a 3D printed surgical guide that allows them to rebuild areas of the jaw as well as eliminating areas that are ridden with cancer.

This is not Professor Baek’s first success with 3D printed surgical models, as he also developed one for a sinus cancer surgery in 2013. In that case, the model assisted as they rebuilt a temporal bone. With such models and guides, surgeons are able to look beyond CTs and MRIs, with 3D models allowing for more comprehensive understanding and planning.

As Baek and his team performed surgery recently to rebuilt their patient’s jawbone, they were able to perform surgery and reconstruction all at once, thanks to the new bone (made from the patient’s leg bone, his fibula) already prepared and ready to go at the scene.

Professor Baek [Image: Samsung Medical Center]

The team at SMC is able to use so many of the benefits of 3D printing for improving their patients’ lives. While the 3D printed models and guides assist the surgeons in the operating room, they can also be used in diagnosing and then educating patients and their relatives about the condition and what will happen in surgery.

“Using this model, doctors have an opportunity to learn a surgery that they had known only in theory while benefiting patients in the long run,” Baek said. “We plan to continue developing 3D printing operating models.”

Discuss in the 3D Printed Surgical Guides forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source: Korea Biomedical Review]

 

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