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mandible13D printing seems as though it is becoming rather commonplace within hospitals in China as of late. Perhaps it’s the country’s willingness to share these various stories with the media, or perhaps they really are a little bit ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to 3D printing technology within the operating room. Regardless, one man, named Mr. Zhou, is very pleased with the fact that 3D printing has made surgical procedures quite a bit more effective as of late.

It was just a few months ago that Mr. Zhou, a 38-year-old man, was living a very normal life in Ethiopia. One day this past May though, Zhou went to work expecting a normal work day, when the unthinkable happened. He was surprisingly shot twice, once in his right leg, and then while he laid on the ground another bullet was fired at his face.

mandible4Zhou was left in pretty bad shape, until he was able to get admitted into the Red Cross Hospital in Xi’an, China, where doctors evaluated him to decide which course of action to take. Having already had a tracheotomy at a local hospital, Zhou was left with a very severe mandibular defect on the right side of his face. He could not eat properly, and had many broken or missing teeth, besides the fact that a large portion of his mandible was missing.

Taking CT and X-ray data, Longgang Gong, the ENT specialist at Xi’an Red Cross Hospital, created a 3D printed model of Zhou’s disheveled mandible in order to get a more realistic view of the defects that needed correcting. Using this model, surgeons were able to 3D print a titanium mandible implant in the exact shape needed to fully restore Zhou’s mandibular function and appearance.

mandible3The surgery, which took place yesterday, was deemed a success, and Zhou is expected to make a full recovery. Doctors will now need to replace his missing teeth before Zhou will be able to live a normal life again.

This is just another shining example of how 3D printing can be used in multiple ways for reconstructive surgery of various types. In Zhou’s case, the technology not only allowed for more precision based on a 3D printed medical model, but it also allowed for a very precisely fitted implant to be created–an implant which should help Zhou not only feel normal again, but also function and look normal as well.

What do you think about this latest surgery in China? Discuss in the 3D printed titanium mandible forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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