Exone end to end binder jetting service

VA Hospital Uses 3D Printing to Create the Perfect Mandibular Implant

INTAMSYS industrial 3d printing

Share this Article

When a patient’s lower jaw bone is removed due to injury or disease, it can be replaced by a mandibular implant. Unfortunately, these implants only come in a limited number of sizes – much fewer sizes than there are unique patient anatomies. This means that surgeons need to bend and shape the implant during surgery to make sure that it perfectly fits the patient’s jaw, allowing him or her to chew properly and maintain a normal appearance. But at the VA Puget Sound Health Care Center, maxillofacial surgeons James Clossman and Jeffrey Houlton are using 3D printing to create a new type of mandibular implant – one that fits the patient perfectly from the start, without need for modification during surgery.

James Clossman (left) and Jeffrey Houlton

Clossman and Houlton recently teamed up with engineers Chris Richburg and Patrick Aubin and VA Puget Sound radiologists Eric Rombokas and Beth Ripley to create exact replicas of three patients’ mandibles, using the hospital’s Stratasys 3D printer. These models allowed the surgeons to compare standard mandibular implants to the 3D printed replicas, adjusting the size and shape as needed days before the surgery, rather than scrambling to do it during the operation itself.

“3D printed modeling, along with virtual planning, has really become a game changer in difficult mandibular reconstruction cases,” said Houlton. “Being able to have a 3D printed model of the patient’s mandible allows us to precisely plan key details during these cases, with a precision you just can’t get with traditional techniques.”

The 3D printed custom mandible models translated into approximately two hours’ time savings for each surgery. With OR time estimated at about $80 a minute, that’s quite a cost saving as well – not to mention that it means less time under anesthesia for the patient, and less fatigue for the surgeons.

VA Puget Sound is one of several VA hospitals that Stratasys equipped with 3D printers, as well as materials and training, in order to create a 3D printing hospital network. The company has been working closely with this VA network in order to help increase surgeon preparedness and quality patient care through 3D printing. VA Puget Sound is also using the technology to help surgeons identify the most appropriate heart valve size for replacement surgery, which can mean the difference between life and death. The hospital is also exploring 3D printing as a means to create personalized orthopedic implants for patients that fall at the extremes of the size range.

“It is exciting to see this technology being offered to veterans through the VA system,” said Houlton. “The next step will be to use the 3D printer to create additional tools to help with optimal fit, such as surgical cutting guides. The dream is to eventually 3D print the perfect implant with a metal 3D printer every time.”

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3D Printed Rockets in the Works EOS and India’s Agnikul Cosmos

3D Printed Simpsons and Futurama Mini TVs Made for Mini-Bingeing



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

3D Printing a Teleprompter at Home, Powered by Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pis are brilliant, an opinion with which I’m sure most of readers would agree. The number of things you can do with them is limitless, from running one as...

Ancient Cephalopods Swam Vertically, 3D Printed Replicas Reveal

There are multiple examples of 3D printing, 3D scanning, and other related technologies being used to help shed light on, and answer questions about, creatures that walked this planet long...

Ulendo Receives $250K NSF Grant for 3D Printing Calibration Software

One of the common challenges with fused filament 3D printers is vibration. Running printers at high speeds often leads to excessive vibrations, which can generate low-quality prints with surface defects,...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.