New 3D printed nose implant is fully functional
A young boy now has a chance to lead a normal life thanks to 3D printing technology and some pretty ingenious doctors.
Dallan Jennet was just nine years old when he fell on a live power line. His face was severely burned, and he lost almost the entirety of his nose. Dallan may have had to live with this disfigurement for life if it weren’t for a revolutionary process and the help from some very kind people and GoFundMe. You see, Jennet and his family also live in the Marshall Islands, where they didn’t have immediate access to the state of the art surgical care that many main-landers do.
The family was put in touch with surgeons Tal Dagan, MD, Associate Adjunct Surgeon, and Grigoriy Mashkevich, MD, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from New York Ear and Eye Infirmary of Mount Sinai who had the idea to implant a 3D printed nose onto Dallan’s face.
The doctors worked with Oxford Performance Materials, a company known for their specialty in neurological and orthopedic 3D-manufactured implants, to create the nose for Dallan. OPM didn’t just create a generic nose for the boy, they took images and rendered a nose model based on his family and cultural heritage to create a nose that would look best suited for him. They wanted to give Dallan as close to his own nose as they could.
In June of 2015, the 14-year-old Dallan was flown all the way to New York to under go the surgeries that would hopefully restore two of his major senses: taste and smell.The first one took a grueling 16 hours. Doctors first needed to see if the skin around the nose was even healthy to take the graft. They removed as much scar tissue as they could, and harvested blood vessels and fresh tissue from Dallan’s leg, were able to install the nose implant on his face. They then used the loose skin to cover the implant.
Four additional surgeries later, Dallan has a new nose. Doctors were able to not only graft a 3D printed nose onto the child, but Dallan has regained the ability to smell and taste. This is a first for US doctors, being able to restore a fully functioning nose using this sort of method.
For people waiting on transplants, 3D technology is a huge game changer. It also may be a less traumatic one in terms of recovery and longevity of the transplant. Dr. Dagan calls it is a breakthrough, “the patient will never have to deal with the standard issues of transplantation, such as tissue rejection or a lifetime of immunosuppressive therapies.”
According to the doctor’s, the nose is permanent and should not need to be replaced as Dallan grows up.