Doctors at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, London have successfully reshaped an accident victim's face using 3D printing technology to create custom implants. The victim, Power had met with an accident in 2012 and the surgery that followed could not restore his face. Subsequently, the doctors scanned 3D images of the victim's face to design guides to cut and position the bones, and plates to keep the bones in place. The 8-hour operation was the culmination of months of planning that pushed the boundaries of surgical possibilities.
All the models, along with the finished guides and titanium implants, were created using 3D printing technology. The victim had a very complex injury and correcting it involved re-cutting the bones into many pieces, says a consultant maxillofacial surgeon at Morriston Hospital. The doctors had to do two types of model planning - virtual model planning on a computer and physical model planning. Before the procedure, Power had been self-conscious about his looks and wore glasses despite his improving vision, to disguise his face.