Three patients were recently treated using 3D printing technology
Chennai-based SIMS Hospital, Vadapalani has performed rare surgeries of total jaw joint replacement using 3D-printed as well as readymade jaw joints for three patients, recently. Though surgeries for the replacement of hip and knee joints have become common, the ones for the replacement of jaw joints and the use of 3D printed custom-made joints are new.
Dr K Sridhar, Director, Institute of Craniofacial, Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery, SIMS Hospital, said, “We have performed total jaw joint replacement for three different patients. In one patient, who had zero mouth opening following a jaw surgery done elsewhere, the damaged jaw bone part was replaced with an artificial part made of titanium metal.
The same was done for the second patient who had complete ‘ankylosis’ (immobile joint) of temporomandibular joint (TM joint), which acts like a sliding hinge, connecting the jawbone to the skull. The third patient had a bone tumour, for which the entire one half of the jaw, the TM joint and the adjoining facial bones were removed about 20 years ago. This patient required a custom made jaw joint for replacement. Since no bone was available to fix the joint, the total jaw joint was replaced with artificial jaws made of titanium and polyethene using 3D printing technology.”
Dr Sridhar added, “Patients who have problems with opening of the mouth (Trismus) due to infection, arthritis or trauma, struggle to chew their food. In extreme cases, the patients can hardly achieve 2-3 mm of mouth opening. We call the condition of immobile joint as ‘ankylosis. Those who have ankylosis will not be able to take real solid food, and will be forced to live their lives only with a soft or semi-solid diet.”
Usually, the treatment for ankylosis involves the creation of a gap by cutting the fused joint and tissues (like muscle, cartilage, or silicone) to prevent fusing again. But, recurrence and failure are very common. In the case of cancer, the adjoining bone may be removed leaving behind a large gap. The reconstruction for it is done by transferring a bone from leg to jaw with micro-surgery. This is possible if a joint is present. If the joint is also removed, then there is a need to create a new joint.
Speaking on the clinical feat, Dr Raju Sivasamy, Vice President – SIMS Hospital, said, “All our clinical endeavours are aimed to restore good health and physical functionality for our patients. For that, we innovate continuously by keeping abreast of the technological advancements around the world and fostering clinical innovation. I applaud the leadership and guidance of Dr Sridhar that has led his team to achieve this remarkable success.”
Expressing his delight on the occasion, Ravi Pachamuthu, Chairman – SRM Group, said, “It is always a proud moment to achieve something rare. And, I am truly delighted about this accomplishment by Dr Sridhar and his team. Reflecting upon the life-transforming clinical success of these three gentlemen, I can say that our Institute of Craniofacial, Aesthetic & Plastic Surgery live up to their motto of ‘making lives meaningful’. I congratulate Dr Sridhar and his team for this outstanding and rare clinical feat.”