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Phoenix Surgeon Uses 3D-Printing Technology to Reconstruct Patient’s Face

28 February 2016   Zac Pacleb and Lauren Michaels | Cronkite News
Dr. Pablo Prichard utilized 3-D printing technology to create permanent implants to reconstruct Jake Reynolds’ face Photo by Zac Pacleb/Cronkite News


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approved a 3-D Printed Facial Implant in 2014

The last thing Jake Reynolds remembers is chasing a frisbee through a bush at Sierra Verde Park in Glendale.

After that, he blacked out.

A car traveling 25 to 30 miles per hour struck Reynolds, then a junior at Mountain Ridge High School. Reynold’s head went through the windshield, decimating his face. He was rushed to HonorHealth John C. Lincoln Medical Center in Phoenix.

But Reynold’s luck turned after he arrived at the hospital. Dr. Pablo Prichard was working as the trauma surgeon on the floor.

After patching up the internal damage, Prichard used a high-definition CT scan to develop a 3-D printed implant to reconstruct Reynold’s face.

Today, Reynolds looks like any other 18-year-old high school senior.

3-D technology has not been used much at all in reconstructive facial surgery, Prichard said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a 3-D printed facial implant in 2014, according to Medical Daily. But the popularity and use of it remained minimal, and surgeons are still experimenting with the technology.

The procedure

Doctors initially worried that the facial lacerations and damage to Reynold’s skull would lead to brain damage. After they ruled that out, the next step was reconstructing his facial structure.

Prichard described Reynolds’ injuries as “really devastating.” He said the bones in his face were “crushed to a pulp.”

Prichard had to reconstruct the muscles, nerve endings and even the salivary gland.

Reynolds said people tell him his injuries remind them of the character Harvey Dent in the movie “The Dark Knight.” Reynolds said he hasn’t looked at the pictures of his injuries and has no plans to do so.

“I refuse to see the ‘before’ pictures because I don’t want to see myself like that,” he said.

Generally, doctors would have used metal plates and screws to reconstruct Reynold’s face. But the bones did not have enough blood supply and essentially “died away,” Prichard said.

Jake Reynolds underwent reconstructive facial surgery after crashing through a windshield. (Photo courtsey of Advanced Aesthetics Associates)

Because of that, Prichard decided to reconstruct Reynolds’ face utilizing the 3-D printing technology.

Read more and see video: Phoenix Surgeon Uses 3D-Printing Technology to Reconstruct Patient’s Face

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