A British man has had pioneering surgery to reconstruct his face using 3D printed parts.
Doctors at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales, operated on Stephen Power, who survived a serious motorbike accident in 2012 with a partially shattered face. The surgical team used scans of Power’s skull to design custom printed models, guides and titanium implants to hold his bones in place.
The procedure, which took place in February, took months of planning and involved eight hours of surgery. It’s thought to be the first time 3D printing has been used at every stage of the procedure on a trauma patient, says the BBC.
“What this does it allows us to be much more precise. Everybody now is starting to think in this way—guesswork is not good enough,” said surgeon Adrian Sugar, noting that 3D printing removed the usual problem of guesswork in reconstructive surgery.
“It is totally life changing,” said Power. “I could see the difference straight away the day I woke up from the surgery.”