Netherlands Cancer Institute carried out first successful operation with custom 3D-printed titanium lower jaw. Image Credit: Mobius 3D Technology (M3DT)HealthTechnology The Netherlands
Cancer Patient Receives World’s First 3D-Printed Titanium Jawbone
Following four years of combined efforts from Dutch researchers and engineers, a cancer patient received the world’s first titanium lower jaw – a custom-made apparatus that revolutionizes head and neck cancer treatment, giving hope to thousands of people afflicted with the disease.
“Because the implant is custom-made, the jaw retains its fit, and pressure on the overlying mucosa or skin is distributed more evenly,” explains the Netherlands Cancer Institute. “We hope this will diminish complications and improve functional and aesthetic outcomes.”
Using the individual patient’s 3D MRI and CT scans, Mobius 3D Technologies was able to print the custom-made titanium jawbone with the exact shape and weight necessary for the patient. Currently, around 40 percent of titanium plate recipients end up with loose screws or problems with the apparatus breaking through the skin in the mouth due to a misfitting, one-size-fits-all design. The new 3D-printed jaw wants to change that: not only will it be made to fit the exact patient, it is also proving to be stronger than the titanium plates that are currently in use.
This new technology should be available within the next two years for the jaw, and researchers are hopeful that the same technique can be used for other parts of the face or skull in the near future.