3D-printer reconstruction of a young man's face in Italy
3D-printer reconstruction of a young man’s face in Italy

A replica of a 23-year-old’s skeleton model helped rebuild his face after a recent severe facial accident.

Once admitted to the “CTO” hospital in Turin, the young man’s surgery was prepared and planned in record time using a 3D printer

Shortly after the first CT scan, the case was studied in the hospital’s laboratory, which is testing new surgical methods with the help of 3D technologies. The machines and brains were turned on overnight so that everything was ready for operation the next morning.

Maxillofacial surgeon, Emmanuel Zavatero, who performed the operation for the young man, said: “On the computer, we can realign all the parts of the bone that have been broken, and we can get a correct model, with the correct shape of the young man’s face, and then, we can print this model so that we have A real 3D model, and through this model, we can form certain devices that we will need in the operating room to turn our plan into reality. ”


Andrea Novarcio is the engineer who worked with the doctors to plan the operation and he confirmed, explaining: “What the surgeon can do is look at wounds in all three dimensions to find out which bones were broken during the trauma, and our task is to convert them into a 3D model using two-dimensional images.”

Engineers and doctors were able to simulate surgery on a computer and reshape the anatomy of a face that sustained severe trauma fractures. Then the model was 3D printed and the surgeons were able to shape the patient’s custom titanium plates before entering the operating room.

“In the past, this step was to create panel patterns that are directly on the patient during the surgery,” says Novaricio. “Having an option to do this before the operation allows to reduce the time spent in the operating room and the doctor can access all the elements.”

Operations like this have been done before, but they always took four or five days to prepare.

“We have now reduced costs and have a faster procedure, to the point that we were able to use the technology for this patient in just a few hours. So we can apply the operation to an increasing number of surgeries,” explains Guglielmo Ramire, Director of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University Hospital of Città Della Salute.

Previous procedures involved the outsourcing of printing the form, making it impossible for hospitals to use the technology in emergency trauma surgery.

“They have improved and changed the way they work,” says Sandro Moss, who oversees the engineers working in the hospital’s laboratory, adding: “We were able to test the results by comparing the CT scans that were made after the operation and the planned operation on the computer. There is a similarity to that.” “All systems are done correctly, thus improving the accuracy of the process as a result. In this way, we also reduce the time we spend in the operating room, which makes things easier for patients and allows them to recover quickly.”

The 23-year-old patient who wishes to remain anonymous is recovering quickly and will be able to return to his normal life in time, according to Ramire.



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