LONDON (TIP): In a first-of-its kind procedure in the UK, doctors have employed a pioneering threedimensional printing technology to create a prosthetic face for a man who had the entire left side of his face removed after suffering from cancer. Restaurant manager Eric Moger, 60, 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 used to be. After taking scans of Moger’s left-over skull and using computers to visualize how his face would look like, 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 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 was given food and drink through a tube leading directly into his stomach. “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. 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 that he could practise various surgical procedures. Moger was referred to him by surgeon Nicholas Kalavresos at University College London Hospital after carrying out the surgery 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.