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New jaw created in 3D printer

Thursday, 23 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

start-up-idea-plastic-jawIn a world first, scientists have used a 3D printer to create a new lower jaw for an elderly patient.

 

The jaw was made using a high-precision laser, which fused together titanium powder in layers, without glue or binder liquid.

 

It restored the patient’s facial aesthetics. Within hours, she had regained her speech and was swallowing normally.

 

The titanium jaw was built in Belgium by firm LayerWise and scientists from the University of Hasselt, but the operation itself was carried out in the Netherlands.

 

An operation of this nature would normally need a hospital stay of between 14 and 28 days, but this patient came home after just four.

 

“The new treatment method is a world premier because it concerns the first patient-specific implant in replacement of the entire jaw,” University of Hasselt Professor Jules Poukens says.

 

While it’s hard to imagine the average entrepreneur using a 3D printer to create a new jaw, it highlights the value of technologies that can considerably reduce patient recovery time.

 

Can you think of other any ways to speed up the process?