UK & World News

  • 12 March 2014, 20:07

3D Printing: Biker's Face Is Reconstructed

A man who was horrifically injured in a motorbike crash has had his face rebuilt using 3D printing technology.

Stephen Power is one of the first patients in the world to have 3D printing used at every stage of the procedure.

The 29-year-old spent four months in hospital after breaking both arms, his right leg, both cheek bones, both eye sockets and his upper jaw in the crash in Llantwit Major, Wales, in September 2012.

But 18 months later, the former barman is celebrating having the last of his facial injuries repaired thanks to the cutting edge technology.

He said he was self-conscious about his appearance before the operation and wore sunglasses to hide his injuries.

"I can't really explain how well it has gone," he said. "It has just made me look a lot better. I take my hat off to them."

Mr Power had an eight-hour operation at Morriston Hospital, Swansea, after staff scanned 3D images of his face to work out how best to reassemble his shattered left cheek and eye socket.

All the parts, including the titanium implants, were produced by 3D printing.

Consultant maxillofacial surgeon Adrian Sugar said the technology took away the guesswork that can be a problem in reconstructive surgery.

"Without this advanced technology, it's all freehand - you just have to guess where everything goes," he said.

"Instead, we can be far more precise and get a better result for the patient."

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