Earlier this year, Belgian surgeons successfully performed the country’s first full-face transplant using 3D printing. The operation was conducted by a medical team of Ghent University Hospital, led by Phillip Blondeel, assisted by Belgian 3D-printing company Materialise. Prior to the procedure the defects in the patient’s face were digitally scanned, after which anatomical models of healthy bones were 3D printed and used as a reference during surgery.
“We also printed a surgical aid to fit the lower jaw of a potential donor,” says Bellinckx. “This guide sits on the donor’s face during surgery and describes exactly where the surgeon needs to cut.”
Six days after the surgery, ahead of anybody’s expectations, the patient was able to speak. “He defied all odds,” says Bellinckx. Story via Wired.