3D Printing Restores Burnt Nose of Teenager

by Amrita Surendranath on  November 24, 2015 at 6:12 PM Health In Focus   - G J E 4
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.
 3D Printing Restores Burnt Nose of Teenager
3D Printing Restores Burnt Nose of Teenager

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.’

The Meet

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 visitors
  • Avoiding direct eye contact with people
Meeting Dalan 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.

The Accident

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 lead to
  • Immediate evaporation of his nose
  • Loss of a few toes
  • Cataract in both his eyes
  • A general concavity of his face
  • The skull showing depression
  • Scarring of facial tissue
  • The 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 cheek.
Two other 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.

3D Printing

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.

The Process

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 skin 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.



Source: Medindia

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