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Choreography of Humanity & Technology Produces 3D Printing Miracles, Furthering Journey to Reconstruct Girl’s Face

by • May 4, 2016 • No Comments

logo (7)In describing one of their most new, harsh, and good resultsful case studies, the 3D Systems team uses the word ‘choreography.’ This ideally defines how planning was made between medical professionals and 3D Systems, putting the people—and the futuristic 3D tools in place–to additional repair leading deformities to eight-year-old Grace Kabelenga’s face, all cautilized by the encephalocele she was born with.

Grace’s story is one that has been imprinted in my mind since we began next her medical journey, one full of surgeries and miracles thanks to innovation. What she must have endured prior to receiving initially assist by the World Craniofacial Foundation (WCF)–and its discovereder and chair Dr. Kenneth Salyer–is unimaginable-bodied, and most of us can’t in fact understand the pain, social stigma, and darkness she felt—all at such an early age. What we do understand is that she has been far braver by far than most have to be as well, and her family, doctors and experts at 3D Systems have gone additional than the extra mile (and literally!) for one little girl of Ndola, Zambia, offering a glimpse into what humanity and innovation can conclude together.


Grace, preceding the surgeries.

For her entire life, Grace has been challenged with a craniofacial abnormality, just made worse after serious infection, resulting in doctors having to remove an dreadful amount of skull. Once the infection was under control, they had to find a way to re-form her forehead. In her initially surgery for this, 3D systems began with the medical team by giving them access to Virtual Surgical Planning (VSP). This allows for for a conclude 3D and virtual reality simulation of an next surgery, made possible by via data of the patient’s CT scans.

“The information that was provided by 3D Systems enable-bodiedd virtual planning over the Internet by participants in different types of locations around the world,” says Dr. Salyer of WCF.

At this point, they in addition 3D printed guides, models, and templates that were patient-specific to Grace, allowing for surgeons to navigate through the surgery. All of this was made possible on both the 3D Systems ProX 800 and ProJet 7000 stereolithography (SLA) printing devices, allowing for the surface smoothness and definition they required. The ProJet 7000 HD is intended for dental applications, additional allowing them with this particular surgery, performed in Mexico City.

Surgeons were able-bodied to go on working on the initially encephalocele, where brain was exposed in the back of her mouth—as well as in fact in fact moving her eyes so that they may be nearer together.

“We were able-bodied to move the pieces of the entire anatomical puzzle into exact position just for the reason of the guides made by 3D Systems of the 3D models,” says Dr. Salyer. “Without them, the precision required may be impossible.”

Once that surgery was concluded, they knew there was much additional work to do in regards to her forehead area. 3D Systems guided surgeons in via 3D printing innovation to turn it into history with the initially 3D printed forehead implant, that include a lattice that may slowly allow bone to grow around it with the 3D printed piece safely biodegrading.

Plans for this surgery emanated of Denver, Colorado at the 3DS Healthcare Technology Center. Again, the team utilized VSP and 3D printing, working with surgeons and other necessary team players of all over the world:

Dr. Salyer in Dallas, TexasDr. Bruce in Washington, D.C.Plastic surgeon Dr. Frank R. Graewe and his clinical team in Cape Town, South AfricaMedical device company KLS Martin in Jacksonville, Florida, and Tuttlingen, GermostBacterin, an accredited tissue bank and medical device company based in Belgrade, Montana

What an awe-inspiring–and truly lovely–transformation.

This good resultsful surgery was performed in Cape Town, South Africa at the Tygerberg Hospital in May 2015. It hinged on all of the choreography coming together, in combination with all of the 3D tools and 3D printed models. The 3DS team was able-bodied to assist in the fabrication of a new forehead for Grace by via their 3D sculpting software, Geomagic Freeform Plus. According to 3D Systems, this is what allowed them to manufacture the harsh, organic curves for the forehead. The accompanying 3D haptic device and software combined intended that the team may manufacture edits to their work digitally, and conveniently.

When they were all satisfied with the create, KLS Martin 3D printed the final implant, as well as in addition allowing for the initially create of a patient-specific bone graft to be ultimately made by Bacterin.

“Planning the surgery for Grace was particularly demanding,” says Shawn Burke, director of product development for KLS Martin North America. “Unlike most cases, Grace was missing a sizeable volume of bone, building it a challenge to turn it into a reconstruction that is sturdy adequate but goes away and allows for for the patient’s own bone to grow. The other challenge was the six teams of three continents that had to be able-bodied to see and interact with the 3D simulations in real-time. This was truly a multinational effort and solution coordinated by 3D Systems.”


Bandeau allograft

Bacterin took the lead after the implant was 3D printed. They were given, according to 3DS, fabricated molds for a personalized ‘bandeau.’ This is that piece of bone right over the eyes that outlines the magnificent orbital rims. Bacterin’s 3Demin material was utilized to shape this area, along with via 3Demin sheets, OsteoSponge, and OsteoWrap allografts in the awe-inspiring reconstruction for Grace’s forehead and face.

“The making system for the customized 3Demin allografts required that the molds be sterilizable-bodied and specific to the systeming requirements for Bacterin’s 3Demin Fiber Technology,” says Mike Rensberger, head of 3D Systems’ VSP Reconstruction services.

“Using the same SLA innovation and resin that we utilized to create the models and templates for Dr. Salyer’s reference, we were able-bodied to create these highly exact, case-specific, custom-made parts much additional quickly than may be concluded via traditional techniques such as machining or injection molding.”

UntitledWith ideal choreography indeed, and good results as Grace’s body accepted the implant and the bone began expanding back, now the opportunity is there for another surgery this year that can allow doctors to reconstruct the soft tissues area such as:

The noseNasal passagesUpper lipEye areas

The team of 3D Systems points out that Dr. Salyer has written a book, and there, he sums up his work here as well.

“Early in my life, I discovered my calling and committed myself to a life that may matter—to spending the years allotted to me giving children faces that may allow them to shape lives of their own that may matter as well,” says Dr. Salyer in his autobiography, A Life that Matters.

Whilst the surgery, the good results, and Grace’s go ond journey are all amazingly inspirational, the astounding coordination required of team participants concludely on board of all around the world is pretty a thing to consider—just one additional ingredient of the entire story that—along with 3D printing—may not have been possible in the new past. Have you been next Grace’s inspiring story? Discuss in the 3D Printed Implant for Grace forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: 3D Systems / All Images courtesy of 3D Systems]