Skip to main content
Contact Us Today

3D Printing Repairs Victim’s Face

Posted May 16, 2014 in ImageLift™
Schedule a Consultation

At ImageLift, we take a very active interest in knowing the latest advancements in technology when it comes to treating our patients and giving them the look that they desire. We wonder what the future will bring when it comes to new treatment options. Even our own Dr. Castellano is utilizing the latest in technology by adapting Google Glass for his procedures. From time to time though, we come across a medical story that highlights these advancements in cosmetic surgery and that profoundly change the life of one individual.

Stephen Power, a 29-year-old father from Cardiff in the UK, was left with extensive facial injuries after a motorbike crash in September 2012. Mr. Power broke both arms and his right leg, both cheekbones, both eye sockets, and his upper jaw. The crash also fractured his skull. Undergoing emergency surgery, his limb injuries were so serious they required attention from a team of trauma, orthopedic, and plastic surgeons.

The surgeons did a good a job on his facial injuries, but they could not fully repair his left cheek and eye socket, as consultant maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Adrian Sugar explains, “We fixed his facial fractures pretty well but he had damaged his left eye and the ophthalmologists did not want us to do anything that might damage his sight further.”

That was when Dr. Sugar and a team got together to plan a surgery to restore the symmetry to Mr. Power’s face. As his eyesight has mostly recovered, this proved to be a good decision. But, Sugar adds, “as a result we did not get his left cheekbone in the right place and we did not even try to reconstruct the very thin bones around his eye socket.”

Mr. Power was consequently left with a distorted face – his left cheekbone was out of place and his left eye remained sunk in and lower than his right eye. Now thanks to the pioneering use of 3D printing, surgeons were able to repair his face in a boundary-pushing reconstructive procedure that took months to plan and 8 hours to complete. Using scanned 3D images of his face, they designed guides to cut and re-position the bones, and plates to hold them in place. All the models – including the guides and titanium implants – were made using 3D printing.

“We did two types of model planning – virtual model planning on a computer screen and physical model planning,” Mr. Sugar explains, “Also we produced guides at each stage of the surgical process, not only to cut the bone but to reposition the bones, and then we had custom implants 3D printed.”

He says that without the help of such advanced technology they would have to work freehand and “guess” where everything goes. “The technology allows us to be far more precise and get a better result for the patient,” he adds. Both surgeons and patient are pleased with the results of the operation. “Mr. Power’s cheekbone is in a better position, and the eye is not sunken any more, although it is slightly raised – but that might settle in the next few months,” says Mr. Sugar.

Mr. Power is still not fully recovered from his overall physical injuries, but his facial reconstruction has been successful, and opens the door for the techniques to help others. Mr. Sugar says they did not take 3D technology just one step further, but two, and perhaps even three steps further. He explains:

“Previous efforts elsewhere to take it to this step have failed and so we have had to learn from those experiences. This is really the first time we’ve taken it to this stage, where everything to the very last screws being inserted has been planned and modelled in advance – and worked sweetly.”

This is one of the many advancements that the future has in store for facial plastic surgery. If you are interested in facial cosmetic surgery, gives us a call today at 877.346.2435 or visit our contact page here! Let us help you get the look that you desire!