3D printers are continuing
to force their way into medical circles and the latest beneficiary is an 83-year old woman. She's the first to receive a titanium jaw crafted by those not-so dimensionally-challenged printers
. The method was developed by the BIOMED Research Institute at Hasselt University in Belgium and creates the lower jaw replacement from layer-upon-layer of titanium dust. A computer-controlled laser then ensures that the correct molecules are fused together. The technique, the first to replace the entire jaw, takes mere hours to make the substitute choppers, while previous options would take several days. Although the final product weighs a bit more than its natural predecessor, but that didn't stop the patient returning close to "normal speaking and swallowing" the day
after the operation.
(Photo credit: ZDNET.de