3D-Printed Jaw Brings Confidence Back to Cancer Survivor

By Amy Tang

Have you ever thought of 3D-printing a jaw?

In Australia, a cancer survivor, Anelia Myburgh, was fitted with a 3D-printed jaw and teeth after her cancer surgery.

Despite a successful cancer surgery, her face was left disfigured after the doctors successfully removed cancer growing in her upper jaw bone. She felt self-conscious and uncomfortable in her daily life.

“I just want to be able to actually walk down the street and not have people stare, that’s my ultimate goal,” said Myburgh.

She decided to go through another surgery to insert a 3D-printed jaw, hoping it would enable her to regain her old self.

The 3D-printed jaw is customized. It also has a titanium frame which can carry bone grafts, so that teeth can be implanted. It took more than five hours to complete the surgery.

“That fact that we can 3D-print a frame where we can actually anchor some teeth for her would give her back her quality of life,” said George Dimitroulis, a maxillofacial surgeon.

A skin graft was performed after inserting the jaw, and Myburgh was happy with the result of the procedure.

“You can’t believe the difference, it actually looks normal,” said Myburgh.