Woman Receives First 3D-Printed Jawbone Transplant

By Veronique Greenwood | February 8, 2012 11:48 am


An 83-year-old woman operated on last summer was the first person to receive an entire 3D-printed jaw transplant, her Belgian doctors announced Monday. The woman’s own lower jaw was riddled with infection, and given her age, and the fact that reconstructive surgery would have been a long and painful process, her doctors decided to have a new jaw specially manufactured for her. The replacement jaw is made out of titanium, assembled in thousands of layers by a 3D printer. It took 4 hours of surgery to get the jaw in place, but that’s just a fifth of how long a reconstructive surgery session would have been. She will receive follow-up surgery later this month to have permanent dentures attached to the jaw.

The new jaw is about 30% heavier than her old jaw was, but the doctors say she’ll get used to it. Someday, though, patients may be able to get replacement bones printed in more bone-like material: scientists are working on getting 3D printers to accept calcium-based substances as ink.

Image courtesy of LayerWise

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine
  • Mika

    How does one attach muscles and ligaments to this thing? It also looks sort of asymmetrical.

  • Pete

    I like the name printed into the front of it. Maybe they’ll install a little flap in her chin so you can tell who made it.

  • Leeloo

    The Fifth Element comes alive!!

  • Axel

    Well its possible that most humans skulls are not exactly symmetrical, and in this case i think the picture is half the effect. Either way I’m interested in this kind of technology. I can’t wait till I’m a cyborg.

    On the topic of cyborgs, there’s already been a professor (kudos to him for not using lab animals) that build a device in his arm and he could manipulate a computer designated hand with him mind via the internet. Well i don’t know about you guys, but that is pretty awesome if you ask me.

  • Skip


  • Jan

    I wonder if she can eat and how much pain she is in. Once you open up the TMJ joint and insert foreign material, that joint will become inflammed and prevent movement. Been there..done that!

  • John

    i would not want to punch a person with that replacement


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