t2We’ve seen some incredible medical applications within the 3D printing space over the last several years. From 3D printed prosthetic legs, to medical models which guide surgeons during complex procedures, to facial prostheses which help patients fit in with the rest of society, 3D printing is changing the way doctors deal with complicated injuries and illnesses.

Every year, thousands of individuals are left with terrible deformities due to their courageous battles against cancer. This was the case for a 74-year-old man named Keith Londsdale who had started his battle again cancer all the way back in 1990, undergoing 45 different procedures to save his life against a very aggressive form of basal cell carcinoma.

When all was said and done Londsdale’s life was spared. However, he was left without an upper jaw bone, cheekbones, his nose, and his palate, and in their place was a gaping hole. Without the ability to properly speak, eat or drink, doctors sought out a solution to make this brave man’s life as normal as possible.

Keith had tried numerous mask-like prostheses in the past, but none of them had proved to adequately function as he had hoped. While some of the prostheses required Londsdale to keep a piece of elastic in his wallet in case the mask would begin to slip off, other masks simply did not look real and didn’t fit his face from a structural or aesthetic standpoint. This is when new technology, combined with an incredible idea, provided a solution.

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Keith’s son, Scott, would do anything for his father, and when the time came for him to make a major impact in his father’s life, he jumped at the chance.

“It’s been a struggle for him and it has knocked him a bit so I wanted to try and do the best I can to help,” explained Scott Londsdale. “He has been through a lot and I’ve always said I’d never have been able to go through what he’s been through.”

Reconstructive Scientist, Jason Watson, at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, took on the task of creating a new facial prosthetic for Keith, one which would be based off of his son Scott’s facialt3 features.

Watson had Scott come into the hospital where they 3D scanned his face. From the scans, a sophisticated computer algorithm created a 3D printable model, which the team at Queen’s Medical Centre was able to print out. Basically doctors now had a 3D printed physical replica of a portion of Scott’s face they then were able to copy in wax and create a mold from. From that mold they then created a silcone mask from Scott, which fit Keith’s face nearly perfectly.

“The ­process of rebuilding Keith’s face was unique in many ways but this was certainly the first time we’ve created a prosthesis based on a family resemblance,” stated Watson.

Keith now is able to leave the house feeling more confident, and looking a little bit more like his 43-year-old son. This prosthesis, which is his fourth in the last 10 years, is by far his favorite. Keith does still carry along a piece of elastic in his wallet, but it’s not for an emergency any longer. “I’ve still got the elastic in my ­wallet today. Occasionally, I take it out to remind myself of how far I’ve come, Keith explained.”

Check out some additional images below of both Keith and his son Scott. Let us know your thoughts on this incredible application for 3D printing in the 3D Print Facial Prothetic forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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[Source: Mirror.co.uk]
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