It is amazing to me what technology is capable of, and everyday I learn something that makes me wonder just how close we will actually come to some of the fictitious “marvels” seen on the sci-fi movies I used to love. Space travel, whole body health scanners, robotic arms and limbs. I wish I could live an extra 100 years just to see how far progress will take us. I have to say though, I am already impressed.
An 83 year old woman who was afflicted with a bone wasting disease that had claimed most of her lower jaw and left her unable to properly eat, or speak was the recipient of the very first 3-D printed jawbone. The jawbone, was made completely of a titanium powder sintered together layer by layer. (Sintering I have learned, is the process of taking a powdered substance and placing it in a mold, and heating it above its melting point.)
After the lower mandible was constructed, it was coated in a biocompatible ceramic and then it was “installed” during a four-hour surgery. The woman was able to say a few words only hours later. Her new jaw is a bit heavier than her old one, but appears to be well tolerated. She was able to go home just four days later.
Doctors feel as though this opens the door for the technology to allow for custom bone and joint replacements and someday It could pave the way for all kinds of 3-D printed body parts. See? Amazing. I just gotta stay alive long enough for them to be able to print me a whole new body… I’m thinking a nice mid 90′s Pamela Anderson….