A 29-year-old Welsh man who broke his cheek bones, eye sockets, upper jaw and skull after a severe motorcycle accident now has a new face — one that was constructed using a 3D printer.
The BBC initially reported on the surgery late last year. The patient, Stephen Power of Cardiff, Wales, was only recently identified, however, and his surgery is being featured in an exhibition at the Science Museum in London, called “3D Printing: The Future.”
“I can’t remember the accident. I remember five minutes before and then waking up in the hospital a few months later,” Power told the BBC last week.
Power underwent emergency surgery after the 2012 accident, in which he was wearing a crash helmet. In addition to the trauma to his face, he also had two broken arms and a broken leg, which were managed by surgeons at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, Wales.
But doctors were unable to reconstruct the left side of his face, according to a statement from the National Health Service of Wales. So, his doctors decided to print a new face using 3D technology.
Doctors scanned 3D images of Power’s face to design precise bone replicas, printed them out of medical-grade titanium on a 3D printer and then inserted them during an 8-hour operation.
The first phase of the procedure was refracturing the cheekbones. The second was remodeling the face. Titanium was used to hold the bones in their new shape.
“It is totally life-changing,” he told the BBC. “I could see the difference straightaway the day I woke up from the surgery.”