Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

Summary: The transplant demonstrates that precision 3D printing can be effective for both bones and organ implants.

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TOPICS: Health
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Surgeons decided to replace an entire jaw of an elderly woman made using a 3D printing technique. (Credit: LayerWise)

An elderly woman has received a replacement titanium jaw, an operation participants say demonstrates the potential of patient-specific body implants.

Belgian company LayerWise Tuesday said that it produced an entire jaw using additive manufacturing, a technique that allows fabricators to make an item directly from a CAD drawing. The transplant demonstrates that precision 3D printing can be effective for both bones and organ implants, the company said.

The method selectively heats metal powder particles with a laser to construct an object layer by layer. Using this method allows LayerWise to create complex shapes that a custom made for patients and don't require glue or multiple parts.

"It used a laser beam to melt successive thin layers of titanium powder together to build the part," Ruben Wauthle, LayerWise's medical applications engineer, told the BBC. "This was repeated with each cross section melted to the previous layer. It took 33 layers to build 1mm of height, so you can imagine there were many thousand layers necessary to build this jawbone."

The woman who received the titanium jaw suffered from progressive osteomyelitis, which led to the decision to replace the entire bone. The operation was a success. The implant return the woman's jaw line and allowed her to speak and swallow normally again, according to LayerWise.

"The new treatment method is a world premiere because it concerns the first patient-specific implant in replacement of the entire lower jaw," Professor Dr. Jules Poukens, who was part of a team that worked on the implant, said in a statement.

The implant, which is coated with a bioceramic coating over the metal, is made with cavities to promote muscle and nerve attachment.

About Martin Lamonica
Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

Topic: Health

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19 comments
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  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    Since nobody else has commented, let me be the first to say it.

    This is freaking cool.
    Aerowind
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @Aerowind this is really awesome!!!
      disparates
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @Aerowind I'm with you. This is sensational. ummmm... jaw dropping?
      Woodash
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    This technology (3D Printers) is the same technology that congress wanted to outlaw and stifle due to the opportunity it allows to circumvent the copyright and patents laws.
    mhelweg@...
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @mhelweg@... gov't stifles the good and allows the bad- it just depends on how much money they (and thier backers that keep them in power) are going to make from it.
      splainin2do
      • gov't stifles the good?

        @splainin2do what kind of nonsense is that?
        Stifles the good? Like worldwide uniform use of English in Air Traffic Control?
        Like paying for the development of nanotech, solar power, nuclear power, vaccines?
        Your hate has emptied your brain!!!
        mykmlr@...
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    The headline freaked me. There are enough women's jaws already.
    farrcycle
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @farrcycle LOL !
      calbrit01
  • Wow. (nt)

    (nt)
    rcasey101
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    While farrcycle's response kept me laughing for quite a while, this is like witnessing science fiction. Wonderful.
    rmakara1
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    Is it wrong that I'd consider volunteering to have various bones in my body replaced with titanium? Because that is honestly where this article sent my mind.
    stagetech
  • Wolverine, here I come!

    *RING RING*
    "Yes, Doctor? I'd like my entire skeleton replaced with adamantium. Oh, and claws, too...well, if some old wrinkly got her stonkin' jaw replaced, why can't I have the other 215 done? ...Well, okay. Titanium, then."
    danyetman
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @danyetman

      I;m sorry, Dr. X assures me that you would not survive the procedure without Wolverine's regenerative powers. That is next on the research list...
      mlashinsky@...
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    Fantastic! I am able to walk because of two titanium hip replacements. How cool to think that so many people will benefit from these great strides in technology!
    frances1@...
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    This is exactly what the poor Hong Kong lady victim needs after the horrific shot at her jaw by a sick-minded Filipino gunman two years ago in the Philippines.
    kocarol
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    They tried this on my wife, but the result was all blurry.
    gottaWonder
    • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

      @gottaWonder Nice! I came here expecting someone to have dropped the 'perpetual motion' card. Thanks for stepping up. ;)
      ejhonda
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    This article gives me something to chew on!
    bobbryant
  • RE: Woman's jaw reproduced by 3D printer

    3D printing and additive engineering is the new world of engineering. It is used to make teeth, body parts, door locks for cars and parts for formulae one cars. It is the future for many products that have been made by conventional engineering which machines and wastes raw materials. The jaw implant is a great step forward.
    nigelmattinson