Dubai doctors reconstruct cancer patient's facial bones using 3D-printing

Multiple benign tumours destroyed facial structures, causing severe deformity and disability


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 12 Jun 2022, 4:59 PM

Doctors in Dubai have successfully performed surgeries on a young Emirati patient to reconstruct his facial deformities.

The 20-year-old patient suffered from multiple benign tumours (keratocysts) that destroyed his facial bones, causing severe deformity and disability to speak, breathe, and eat naturally.

Importantly, it was the first of its kind case in the world where the doctors used 3D printing to design titanium implants to reconstruct the facial bones.

The doctors’ team at Emirates Hospital was led by Professor Dr Jehad Al Sukhun, an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

Dr Sukhun diagnosed the tumour through a series of investigations, including a CT scan, MRI and histopathology biopsies. A series of surgeries followed this to remove the tumour and reconstruct the facial bones.

The success of 3D printing in facial reconstruction opens the door for the introduction of techniques to save cases of bone deformities resulting from tumours. Dubai has been leading the world in new-age technologies, including the world’s first 3D printed office.

“We have for the first time used 3D printing technology to design 3D titanium facial implants to reconstruct the defect of the facial bones. The patient recovered well with an excellent aesthetic outcome. We live in a new era now,” said Dr Sukhun.

“This is the first case worldwide where we successfully used titanium implants to reconstruct the facial bone defect of this size. Compared to other techniques, this new technology has saved the patient from taking multiple soft and hard microvascular flaps/grafts from the legs and abdomen to reconstruct the face, which would have definitely compromised the patient’s life and have severe effect on the quality of his life,” he added.


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