A young Syrian man has received a pioneering custom jaw implant after a bullet wound in his country's civil war completely destroyed his lower jaw.
Adi Rachmiel, DMD, PhD, director of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel, performed the ground-breaking operation with Yoav Leiser, DMD, PhD. Dr. Leiser had recently returned from training in Germany, where he specialized in restoring eye sockets, jaws, and cheek bones. The operation and implant had the patient eating and speaking again a day after his surgery.
"We succeeded in returning his human quality," said Dr. Leiser of the patient, whose face had been torn, jaw smashed, and bottom teeth decimated.
The 23-year-old man arrived at the Rambam Health Care Campus in critical condition after a rifle bullet shattered his jaw and blew out his bottom teeth, rendering him unable to speak or eat, according to a hospital statement. Further complicating the planning was that the man arrived with no medical records, leaving the doctors nothing on which to base the structure of the new jaw, leaving them to rely on statistical models.
With the help of CT and 3D printing, the doctors printed a custom-made jaw out of titanium and implanted it in the patient during the procedure, called a patient-specific implant (PSI). Unlike other similar procedures that previously required the connection of many plates, the PSI requires only one individualized plate, serving as a custom-made "replacement part."
Additionally, all planning is done before and not during surgery, which the hospital said saves time and yields superior results.
Following this success, three additional patients are now scheduled to undergo similar innovative treatments.
In October 2014, an Indian cancer patient was given a new set of teeth with the help of 3D printing after he had a substantial section of his palate removed following surgery to remove a tumor.
Although Israel has no diplomatic relations with Syria, Syrians are crossing the border to receive medical care in Israel, according to an AlJazeera America story. And in February 2013, the Israeli Defense Forces set up a field hospital near the border with Syria after receiving desperate pleas for help from wounded civilians, according to a Times of Israel story.