3D printing has
come to aid a teenager who burnt his nose in a freak accident when he was 9.
Dalan Jennet fell from a tree onto a live wire that affected his vision and
burnt his face. Unable to see clearly and with a scarred face and confidence,
he refused to attend school and remained cooped up at home most days.
The silver lining in his struggle was when Dalan, now
15, met Dr.Tal Dagan, who understood his plight and felt he needed to do
something for the teenager from the Marshall Islands.
‘3D printing could soon be used to recreate near normal facial features even after extensive burns with immense promise even in cosmetic surgeries.’
Dr. Tal Dagan who is an associate adjunct surgeon
attached to the Mount Sinai eye and ear infirmary visited the Marshall Islands
as part of a Marshall field trip organized by Canvasback Missions in August
2014. During this trip he chanced upon Dalan's case and was immediately intrigued
with an overpowering urge to help the child.
Dalan was in a self-imposed confinement and apart from
the physical injury to his face, exhibited psychological afflictions
- Preventing him from accepting
direct eye contact with people
and getting him to talk was the first big challenge for Dr. Dagan who had to
coax and gently gain his confidence. Dalan was 14 years old when Dr. Dagan met
him and he had already spent five years in near total isolation.
As Dr. Dagan
patiently instilled in him confidence, the teenager slowly began to open up to
the doctor, even mentioning in detail about his unfortunate accident.
When he was nine years old, Dalan and his friends
climbed a coconut tree in a neighboring house and then jumped onto the roof of
the house. That is when Dalan came into contact with a live electric wire. This
- Immediate evaporation of his nose
of a few toes
- Cataract in both his eyes
- A general concavity of his face
skull showing depression
- Scarring of facial tissue
surgeries that were performed soon after helped him survive and did not lead to
further damage. Dylan had a hole for a nose, burnt scar running from cheek to
doctors visited Dalan but did not believe they could help him as there was no
cartilage or live tissue with which a nose could be harvested. Dr. Dagan,
however, refused to let Dalan remain as such and promised full support if he
could travel to New York.
Revolutionary breakthroughs in medical science
combined with advanced technical advancements have led to the invention of 3D
printing. Printing technology which earlier catered to business houses that
printed material for mass distribution or, at home, for a child's homework is
now being used to restore a child's nose.
3D printing is used increasingly to create 3D models of kidneys
, heart, lung, limbs etc for
study purposes but this is the first ever news of 3D printing for a nose job.
Dalan moved to New York and stayed at the Ronal
MacDonald house of charities to avail medical treatment from Dr Dagan.
Dr. Dagan had to remove most of Dalan's face during
the surgery and inject a green dye into his blood stream to follow the flow of
blood. He then harvested skin tissue for use as the inner lining of the nose
and grafted skin from his forehead for the outside of his nose. A bigger graft of
along with capillaries was taken from the boy's thigh for the
depression on the boy's face. Donor cartilages
were used to construct the nose
based on the 3D print.
Few months and several surgeries later, Dalan had a
new nose that closely resembled the noses of his siblings, this ensured that he
looked similar. His face was normal and so was his vision as his cataract
was removed too.
The Glossy Print
Dr. Dagan has been quoted as saying that this was one
of the most complicated surgeries that he had ever come across. Dalan, on the
other hand, is enjoying his new found happiness, and "he has a girlfriend too"
says Dr. Dagan. The 3D printing technology allowed Dr. Dagan to make Dalan's
life rosy after all, in glossy print.