The World’s First 3D Printed Total Jaw Reconstruction

(Xilloc) Doctors and engineers in the Netherlands recently made huge advances in 3D printed prosthetics when they manufactured and implanted a lower jawbone. The implant procedure was carried out a few months ago on an 83-year-old patient with a serious jaw infection. This procedure rescued important vital functions (breathing, speech, chewing, sensation) as well as the aesthetic aspect that would otherwise have been lost.

Xilloc worked on this project with the Xios College, the Catholic University of Leuven, the Oral- and Maxillofacial Surgeons of the Orbis Medical Centre Sittard-Geleen (the Netherlands) and LayerWise NV (Leuven – Production). This is the first time that a complete lower jaw has been replaced in a patient by a 3D printed jaw. The 3D printing technique, using a powdered metal, is ideally suited for producing this type of patient-specific implant. The fact that the technique can now be used for a complete lower jaw implant is unique. “The introduction of printed implants can be compared to man’s first venture on the moon: a cautious, but firm step,” says Professor Jules Poukens of BIOMED.

The implant weighs approximately 107 grams. This is just a little bit heavier than a ‘natural’ lower jaw, but it’s certainly not a problem. With other methods it can take up to two days before an implant is completely ready. With 3D printing, it was ready in just a couple of hours. The implant was coated with plasma sprayed artificial bone (hydroxy-apatite bone substitute compound) by Cambioceramics, Leiden, The Netherlands. Some anatomical parts, such as the condylar heads and the rims for the mandibular nerves were polished. Fixture sites for future prosthetic superstructures were incorporated.