In a world first procedure, a Greek Australian surgeon, Dr George Dimitroulis, fitted a 3D printed jaw construction and new teeth to 31-year-old Anelia Myburgh, an oral cancer patient from Melbourne.
Ms Myburgh was diagnosed with jaw cancer in April 2017, after noticing a small bump above her teeth, which was causing them to move. While specialists initially told her it wasn’t anything sinister, the test results that came back a week later proved it was cancerous which resulted in Ms Myburgh undergoing immediate life-saving surgery to remove most of her upper jaw and part of her lips.
While removing the life-threatening tumour, Ms Myburgh lost 80% of her top jaw and her face was left disfigured and she felt self-conscious, embarrassed and uncomfortable.
"They removed the majority of the upper jaw, so I only have the two back teeth on each side left, they removed a portion of the lip and some under structure of the nose area," she told channel Nine News.
After researching on her own, Ms Myburgh came across surgeon George Dimitroulis, a Melbourne based maxillofacial, who managed to customise a 3D jaw featuring a titanium frame that allows teeth to be implanted.
During the surgery, a skin graft was also performed, after the skin was taken from her forearm and used to help pad out her lip.
"The fact that we can 3D print a frame where we can actually anchor some teeth for her will give her back her quality of life,” said Dr Dimitroulis.
The 31-year-old has said that the implant has changed her life forever and now she can enjoy going out for meals with her friends.
“We communicate with our mouths, we eat with our mouths, if you don't have a mouth we can't really live in a way a person takes for granted.”
Ms Myburgh told Nine News she was looking forward to being able to eat meals with family and friends again and she can’t wait to finally enjoy some pizza and burgers again.