Adrian Sugar and his team at the maxillofacial unit at Morriston Hospital in Wales have long known that 3D printing would change the field of plastic surgery forever. In aiding Stephen Power, the victim of a traumatic motorcycle crash, with a recent facial reconstructive surgery, Morriston Hospital was able to demonstrate the extent that 3D printing can be used in such procedures, using the technology to rebuild his face at every stage of the process.
Stephen Power received multiple trauma injuries in his accident, breaking his top jaw, nose and cheekbones and fracturing his skull. Improvements in 3D printing have made it possible for Sugar to have custom prints made from Power’s CT scan, both for the implant and to create surgical guides.
With a set of cutting guides and 3D printed plates matching Power’s CT scan, The team performed their surgery, first re-fracturing his cheekbones along the guides and, then, implanting a 3D-printed titanium piece to hold his bones in place. Previously, in order to hide his injuries, Power wore a hat and glasses, concealing his face in public. After the surgery was complete, Power felt as though it was totally life changing.
Sugar says that the new technology has changed the way he creates custom implants, calling Power’s surgery “incomparable” to anything his team had performed in the past. It’s hoped that this example will encourage the use of 3D printing in the medical field more quickly.