First 3D Print Face Transplant in Belgium

idmin/ August 30, 2017/ Health Care and 3D Printing

3D technology has given hope to many patients who had reached a point of hopelessness. Medical practitioners have used 3D technology to give a lasting solution to delicate body injuries. Prof. Blondeel has a story of success to share with others who are planning to use 3D or are already using it. Prof. Bondeel with other three surgeons enters the history books of Belgium as the first medical doctors to perform a face transplant in Belgium. The operation done by these three surgeons was a complex one because it involved so many other major operations. The whole procedure was a success because of the use of 3D images that gave them a clear picture of what they needed to do.

Deciding the Best Treatment Method

The case of a Belgium patient was complicated; his face was deformed with face bone and tissues partially damaged. The case is similar to Andrew’s, Andrew from Newcastle shot himself below his chin due to depression. The two patients though at different times went through treatment to stabilize their conditions before going in for major operations. The only option was the face transplant. Clinical engineers worked on a plan to come up with a comprehensive surgical plan, which was based on 3D data that would help them carry out the facial transplant.
The surgeons made the printed 3D data ready for the action. The other plan that made them succeed was the anatomical models that facilitated the visibility of beneath the skull making the doctors assess the situation clearly. The 3D printed model helped the surgeons to identify places when tissues and bones were to be planted. Screws and plates were used to fix the bones in their respective places then the tissues were carefully fixed together.

Face Transplant in Germany

Prof. Bondeel efforts to do a face transplant have already brought forth positive report. The patient’s condition is stable months after the operation. One of the tools that were very instrumental during the operation is a 3D printed surgical model and guide. The 3D materials are helping medical practitioners by giving them accurate data. The sad face of this patient and the one for Andrew were fixed because of the availability of 3D models. Mayo Clinic also has reports of successful use of 3D to do a face transplant in the recent past. Prof. Bondeel and Mayo Clinic have a taste of success stories of 3D printed materials in healthcare.