The advancements within the medical field, spurred on by additive manufacturing, have been truly remarkable. The lives, which are being saved or improved upon, thanks to this incredible technology, is nothing short of revolutionary. One company, called Osteo3d, powdered by df3D, and headquartered in Bangalore India, is leading the way when it comes to numerous healthcare applications for 3D printing.
One such application was certainly a blessing for a 41-year-old cancer patient in Bangalore. The patient, who was diagnosed with cancer of the palate (upper jaw), lost a substantial portion of his palate after undergoing surgery to remove the tumor. Additionally, radiation therapy which he had undergone for 6 weeks, caused a medical condition known as trismus, leaving him unable to open his mouth wider than two centimeters. Unable to eat properly, and with some difficulty speaking, not to mention the aesthetic consequences of the palate loss, doctors decided they needed to create some sort of prosthetic for the man.
Because of his inability to open his mouth very wide, it was impossible to take an impression in order to to create the proposed prosthetic. Under normal circumstances doctors would take an impression of the patients mouth, and use that impression as a mold in the creation of a custom device.
“In this case, the patient could not open his mouth to get an impression using the conventional method,” Deepak Raj, co-founder of df3d and Osteo3D told 3DPrint.com. “Hence, we did a CT scan and created a 3d model for the doctor to take an impression.”
Using the CT scan, the team was able to create a 3D printable model of the inside of the man’s mouth without the need for him to open it. Osteo3D then fabricated both the upper and lower jaws of the patient on a 3D printer, using it in place of his actual mouth to get a wax model of the prosthetic device they would be creating. Once the wax model was tested, they acrylysed it, added some teeth and gave it to the patient to try on.
Incredibly the device was as close to a perfect fit as they could have gotten, even with traditional techniques, improving the patient’s speech, swallowing, eating, smiling, and bone structure.
“The patient is in good health and is able to lead his day to day life with no hassles now, thanks to 3D printing,” stated Deepak.
Only a couple years ago it may have been impossible for this man to live a relatively normal life, but thanks to advances in additive manufacturing, this is no longer the case. Let’s hear your thoughts on yet another incredible medical application for 3D printing in the Osteo3D Mouth Prosthetic forum thread on 3DPB.com.