Custom 3D printing of facial implants has become a reality in Australia
Jul 25, 2019
The star of this story is 4 year old Maxim. In March of this year he became the recipient of the first custom 3D printed ear implant in Australia and only the 16th in the world. Maxim has hemi-facial microsomia, a condition where one side of the face is smaller than the other. It is often associated with a missing ear canal and outer part of the ear, known as microtia.
Sydney Plastic Surgeons, Dr Joe Dusseldorp and Dr Nicholas Lotz, performed the ear reconstruction at Ramsay Hospital, Castlecrag Private, using an implant which had been 3D printed using a biocompatible polymer, known as porous polyethylene. The implant was modelled from a mirror image of a 3D scan of Maxim's other ear and 3D planning techniques were used to choose the ideal location for his ear and an ideal size so that he may grow into it as he develops.
The custom 3D printed technique has several advantages over the traditional rib cartilage ear reconstruction technique. It can be performed with less pain, less time in hospital, can be completed in one surgery at a younger age (often being completed prior to starting school). In contrast, the traditional technique requires harvesting rib cartilage from the chest wall which is then sculpted into the shape of an ear. It is performed in multiple stages, after the age of 9 or 10 and, despite this prolonged painful course, can ultimately fail to resemble the delicate features of an outer ear.
The innovation landscape is full of opportunity to combine technological advancements with modern clinical practice, particularly in the field of reconstructive plastic surgery. Castlecrag Private Hospital is proud to be supporting clinicians to translate these advances into reality, ensuring better outcomes for our patents in the 21st century.
For further information please contact Castlecrag Private Hospital on 02 9935 0200 or visit www.castlecragprivate.com.au