3D facial implants - Damien's Story

Key points:

  • 3D facial implants pioneered at Epworth Freemasons in 2015
  • Custom 3D printed titanium and plastic implants

Epworth Freemasons has given a NSW design and technology teacher a real life example of the benefits of 3D printing, by rebuilding his jaw.

Damien Beattie developed a facial deformity, when he experienced a teenage growth spurt, with one side of his jaw shorter than the other, causing his face to be misaligned.

“Through school I probably didn’t notice it but when I started at university everyone was getting camera phones so you were in a lot more photos and selfies,” Damien said.

“I really noticed it in photos with my fiancé and it started to annoy me.”

Damien’s first heard about 3D printed jaw components being used in facial surgery in 2015, when Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon, Mr George Dimitroulis  created history at Epworth Freemasons by undertaking the first surgery of its type in Australia.

When Damien decided to seek treatment, he googled Mr Dimitroulis and set up an appointment.

“The vast majority of patients I treat have been referred by their doctor or dentist,” Mr Dimitroulis said.

Mr Dimitroulis said surgery using custom 3D components is digitally planned, with millimetre accuracy, weeks in advance.

“Using a series of scans, we can develop a plan like putting together a Lego set, showing exactly where cutting and drilling has to occur and where every screw will go.”

Damien initially underwent eight hours of surgery for the first stage to correct his jawbone. This procedure was followed by another operation to insert a prosthetic chin. He then faced a long recovery as the muscles and other soft tissues in his jaw changed.

In December, he married fiancé Sally, and proudly posed for wedding photos with his new look. He now has a real example of the benefits of 3D printing to share with his students.

Epworth gives tech teacher 3D printing lesson - Epworth HealthCare


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