Cancer patient receives world-first 3D printed jaw
A 31-year-old Melbourne woman has been fitted with a 3D printed jaw in a world first procedure.
Anelia Myburgh was diagnosed with jaw cancer last April, with surgery taking away a large section of her upper jaw.
Ms Myburgh booked an appointment with her dentist after noticing a small bump just above her teeth.
It wasn’t painful but when it started causing her teeth to move she decided it was time to get it checked out.
The dentist referred her to different specialists who all assured her it probably wasn't cancer due to her young age.
However, within a week her test results confirmed it was in fact cancer and doctors were forced to remove most of her upper jaw to treat the disease.
While the surgery was successful, Ms Myburgh was left with only two teeth, a portion of lip and the under structure of her nose area .
She ended up losing a total of 80 percent of her top jaw.
The disfigurement left the finance worker self-conscious and uncomfortable in social situations.
“We communicate with our mouths, we eat with our mouths, if you don’t have a mouth we can’t really live in a way a person takes for granted,” Ms Myburgh told 9News.
One day on the train she noticed people in the corner of the carriage taking photos of her face.
She confined herself to her home and on the odd occasion she would leave, covered her face with a medical mask.
After being told nothing could be done, Ms Myburgh was at a loss.
She began researching possible treatments which lead her to George Dimitroulis, a Melbourne based Maxillofacial Surgeon.
A customised 3D printed jaw was developed featuring a titanium frame that could carry bone grafts, allowing teeth to be implanted.
Doctors took skin from Ms Myburgh's forearm using it to pad out her lip, a procedure that took more than five hours to complete.
The 3D frame allowed doctors to successfully anchor a number of teeth, a move Dr Dimitroulis believes gave the young patient back her "quality of life.”