Creating Smiles

We are working to develop customized 3-D printed implants to repair defects in the head and neck region caused by trauma, cancer and congenital disease.

Creating Smiles

We are working to develop customized 3-D printed implants to repair defects in the head and neck region caused by trauma, cancer and congenital disease.

We are developing customised 3-D printed implants to repair defects in the head and neck caused by trauma, cancer or disease

 

Approximately 60,000 craniofacial reconstruction surgeries carried out in the

UK each year

RAFT’s new technology will transform current treatment for children and adults, making the surgery safer, less painful and more effective for thousands of patients


Young man with trauma of the head

“For most parents there’s nothing sweeter than seeing their son or daughter smile; but for children born with jaw abnormalities or who have been involved in serious accidents, a smile is impossible. Our 3D Facial project will allow a child’s facial bones to regrow, giving the face natural features and movement and meaning the patient no longer has to undergo multiple operations until they stop growing,”

Dr Elena Garcia, RAFT 3D Facial Reconstruction Research Scientist

Current treatment

Typically, metal implants, bone grafts and artificial prosthetics are currently used in facial reconstruction. Although implants can be manufactured to fit the patient’s skull or jaw, complications can arise if the body rejects the implant or the surrounding bone deteriorates loosening the implant. There are also particular problems for children and teenagers who need multiple operations to replace the metal implants with larger sizes as they grow.  Bone grafts also suffer complications including pain and non-healing, immune-rejection, disease transmission and difficulty generating the exact shape required.

 

Our research

By using 3D printing and artificial biocompatible materials RAFT scientists will be able to generate custom-fit implants for facial and neck reconstruction surgery that will provide a structure to encourage new bone growth. To learn more about this research, please click here.

Doctor talking to a senior patient with cervical collar at the hospital

 

 

Help us raise the funds needed to change facial reconstruction forever

Our Creating Smiles research will use the latest 3D printing technology to create a bespoke scaffold that will allow the body to grow new bone, creating a natural look, reducing the number of operations required and reducing the risk of complications.

Our research will transform treatment for patients undergoing facial reconstruction procedures. It is scheduled for completion in summer 2019 when we aim to be in a position to conduct pre-clinical trials.

 

Project cost:

£449,000 over three years starting 2016 to fund:

  • The customisation of a 3D printer and the development of specialist software
  • A PhD student to work on the 3D facial reconstruction surgery research
  • Project consumables such as laboratory equipment and all the elements needed to develop the material for the 3D printed scaffold.

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