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As 3D printing is implemented more and more in surgical practice around the world, one plastic surgeon in Paris has carved himself out a niche as one of the experts in the field. Laurent Lantieri has been carrying out major cranial reconstructive surgery since 1994, and 3D printing has become a key part of his process. In 2010, he and his team at the Georges Pompidou Hospital successfully achieved the world’s first full facial transplant, and he continues his inspiring and pioneering work there to this day.
Lantieri’s office contains shelves lined with plastic replica skulls, each representing a patient operated on. There are many with missing eye sockets, jawbones, and other significant deformities. Only the most seriously injured or disfigured patients visit Lantieri, most of whom have undergone serious accidents or suffer from genetic diseases. His work can help them to recover from the trauma of this as well as the discomfort and loss of functions, and puts them on the way to having a normal life again.
Technology - Lantieri - Use - CT - Scans
Before 3D printing technology became more accessible, Lantieri used to make use of CT scans and standard surgical equipment, to try and approximate a reconstruction of the patient’s face or head. He would search through thousands of boxes of generic plates, casts, and screws in the hope of finding something that would fit. Since 2008, however, his toolkit has been vastly improved and specialized, with the help of Belgian 3D printing company Materialise.
Materialise is able to take a CT scan and create a virtual 3D model of a patient’s face from it. This is then used as a guide to build implants that are specific to a patient’s anatomy. A shattered cheekbone on the left side...
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