A 54-year-old man whose face was ravaged by a tumor has been given the first-ever face prosthesis created with 3D printing technology.
Carlito Conceiao, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was diagnosed with upper maxillary carcinoma in 2008, an aggressive mouth cancer that damaged his throat and destroyed facial tissue. Doctors operated before it spread to his brain but the life-saving surgery left a giant hole in his face.
In order to get rid of the tumor, doctors had to remove Conceiao’s right eye socket and part of his nose.
“I lost all my confidence and fell into a deep depression,” the married father-of-two told Caters News.
Following his surgery, Conceiao was fitted with a different prosthesis, but said it was poor quality and kept falling off.
“I felt totally disfigured and looked terrible,” he said.
In February, Conceiao was offered the pioneering procedure, which used a smartphone to re-build his face.
Dr. Rodrigo Salazar, a Peruvian dentist and specialist in oral rehabilitation, worked on the project for two years. He used a free app, Autodesk 123D Catch, which converts pictures into 3D models, to take 15 photos of Conceiao’s head on his smartphone. After uploading the pictures, he converted them into a virtual model and used a low-cost printer to create the new mold.
The mold was used to create Conceiao’s new prosthesis, which clinical artists volunteered to hand-finish to make it look more natural.
Dr. Salazar told Caters that his significantly cheaper process produces the same results as “prostheses produced on state-of-the-art equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
“I was so impressed by the result of the new one,” Conceiao told Caters. “I cried when they fitted it.”