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jaw5We have really begun to see the use of 3D printing take off within operating rooms and hospitals in China. From listing and reading all of the media reports, it would appear as though China is ahead of all other nations when it comes to using additive manufacturing to aid in surgeries. Whether this is actually the case or if it is just the fact that the Chinese media loves to publicize such procedures, while doctors in the US must adhere to strict medical privacy rules such as HIPAA, we don’t know.  Fact is though, 3D printing is becoming more and more common in hospitals all around the world.

We’ve seen 3D printing used in order to guide surgeons in complicated “life or death” operations. The technology has certainly done some amazing things. It was only a matter of time though, before patients and surgeons would see the technology as a more accurate and simple means for complicated plastic surgeries as well.

For one 26-year-old woman in China, named Ms. Lin, 3D printing was able to give her a nice boost of self-esteem, thanks to a 3D printed Chin that she was recently the recipient of.  Looking for the “perfect chin”, Lin ultimately ended up under the supervision of a surgeon named Dr. Liu Jiawei who elected to use 3D technology to accomplish Lin’s goal.

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Let’s face it, most of us have something about ourselves that we would like to change. Whether it be our height, our weight, our muscular tone, or our facial features, no one is perfect, yet most of us strive to be. For Lin, she just wasn’t happy about how round her chin was. While she is a woman of relative small stature (5’2″ and weighing just 99 pounds), she felt as though her chin needed to be extended in order to become more proportional with the rest of her facial features. So starting about 3 years ago, she began to seek the help of medical professionals.

jaw2Initially Lin had been visiting doctors on a frequent basis in order to receive injections of hyaluronic acid. This was only a temporary solution though, and Lin wanted something more. So she went to the China Medical University Hospital in Taichung, Taiwan, a university that enrolls approximately 8,000 future doctors and surgeons. Doctors there believed that they had found a solution. They would perform a very unique form of plastic surgery involving 3D technology.

Lead surgeon, Dr. Liu Jiawei, decided to utilize 3D scanning and 3D printing technology to create a tangible model of Lins chin, as well as a model of exactly what surgeons would do to modify her chin. This would allow for a much more accurate surgery, based on exactly what Lin had in mind. While she felt that her chin was too “round”, doctors decided to modify it by giving it more of a “V-shape”. Surgeons were able to use the 3D printed chin model not only to aid in the surgery themselves, but also to show Lin exactly how her new chin would be modified.

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“When I saw the results after surgery, I was extremely satisfied, happy,” said Lin, who bought herself this surgery as a birthday present. “Beauty is the best birthday gift!”

jaw4Ultimately the 3D printed models helped doctors more quickly and efficiently remove the designated portions of Lin’s jawbone, and create more symmetry within her face. Doctors were able to successfully push Lin’s jawbone forward by 0.5cm, as well as make a few other minor modifications. This allowed Lin’s chin to become more symmetrical, and as doctors say, “allowed the ratio from her nose to her upper lip be the same as from her lower lip to bottom of her chin”.

In all, both the surgical team and Lin were very pleased with the results, and they fully expect more and more surgeries in the future to rely on 3D printing as well.

What do you think about this incredible use of 3D printing to create a new chin for this woman? Discuss in the 3D Printed Chin forum thread on 3DPB.com.  Check out the video below (in Chinese).

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