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Biologics Feature

Human Jawbone / Source: Wikimedia Commons and Gregory Maxwell
Human Jawbone / Source: Wikimedia Commons and Gregory Maxwell

3D Printer Makes Human Jawbone

Biloine W. Young • Mon, August 26th, 2013

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Three-D printing of human organs is advancing at an astounding pace. Hangzhou Dianzi University in China has a Regenovo printer that prints living tissue—such as replacement ears. Cornell University in New York has a similar tissue printer and in Belgium an 83-year-old woman is chewing, speaking and breathing normally with a new jawbone fashioned by a 3D printer from titanium powder and stem cells.

Doctors fed an MRI scan of the women’s damaged jawbone into a laser 3D printer which deposited titanium particles, layer by layer, until the printer had recreated the shape of her jawbone. They coated the implant with a biocompatible ceramic layer, steeped it in stem cells and placed it in the abdomen of the recipient where it grew biocompatible tissue. The implant had cavities that promoted muscle attachment, openings that allowed mandibular nerves to enter and support structures for dental implants.

Hules Poukens, the researcher who led the operation at Biomed, the biomedical research department of the University of Hasselt in Belgium, said, “This is a world premiere, the first time a patient-specific implant has replaced the entire lower jaw. It’s a cautious, but firm step.” The surgery was performed in June 2011, but has only recently been reported. According to, the team was astonished at the success of the four-hour jaw implant operation.

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2 Responses to “3D Printer Makes Human Jawbone”

  1. We need a detailed manuscript for this ASAP.
    This is not totally surprising but very exciting for the field of oral bone regeneration & implantology.

  2. Diane says:

    The woman that had the jawbone replacement, how is she now, does she have any problems?
    Are there any doctors in America that are doing this surgery?

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