LONDON: In a first-of-its kind procedure in UK, doctors have employed a pioneering 3D printing technology to create a prosthetic face for a man who had the entire left side of his face removed after suffering from cancer.
Sixty-year-old restaurant manager Eric Moger lost almost the entire left side of his face during an emergency surgery to remove the cancer, including his eye, his cheek bone and most of his jaw, leaving a gaping hole where his features had once been.
After creating scans of Moger's left-over skull and using computers to visualise how his face would look like, the doctors were able to use a new type of printer that builds up layer upon layer of nylon plastic to produce the exact components needed in the facelift, 'The Telegraph' reported.
The procedure has transformed the father-of-two's life, allowing him to drink his first glass of water and taste food for the first time since he underwent the surgery to remove the tumour.
Until now he has had to feed and drink through a tube directly into his stomach, the report said.
"I was amazed at the way it looks," said Moger, who lives in Essex.
"When I had it in my hand, it was like looking at myself in my hands. When I first put it up to my face, I couldn't believe how good it looked," Moger said.
According to the report, the three dimensional printers were first developed by the manufacturing industry to help rapidly produce prototype components.
Andrew Dawood, dental surgeon and implant expert, began using 3D printing a couple of years ago to help produce replicas of his patient's jaw bones so he could practice surgical procedures.
Moger was referred to him by surgeon Nicholas Kalavresos at University College London Hospital after carrying out the life saving but physically devastating work to remove the tumour.
Attempts to use plastic surgery to rebuild Moger's face had failed due to the chemotherapy and radiotherapy he was receiving.