In a recent project, Renishaw used its additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing) expertise to help the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) treat a patient who suffered cancer of the lower jaw and required removal of the affected region coupled with reconstructive work.
The patient, a male in his 60s, was presented to UHW as a newly diagnosed oral cancer patient needing surgery to remove the left side of his lower jaw and reconstruction using the fibula bone from one of his legs. Handling his case were maxillofacial surgeon Mr Cellan Thomas and restorative dentistry consultant Mr Liam Addy.
The operation would require a perfect fit between two harvested sections of fibula bone and the two remaining healthy sections of the jaw. A mandibular plate implant would be required to hold all four sections together, in order for the bone to heal and knit together.
Planning for the removal of the cancerous tissue and the reconstruction was done on a CAD/CAM suite with members of the surgical team. This team approach was integral to the success of the treatment.
Mandibular implant operations are relatively rare and complex procedures that require a large surgical team. This case would involve up to ten people in theatre.
Mr Thomas and Mr Addy wanted to control as many of the variables as possible that can arise in the environment of the operating theatre. They wanted to perform the operation with accuracy and reduce the risks that can arise from traditional freehand surgery. They chose to specify 3D printed implants, and cutting and drilling guides. They also pre-planned how they would approach the surgery.