Nov.8, 2014

Rhinoplasty – more commonly known as a nose job – has been a staple in cosmetic surgery for years. While mostly used by the rich and famous to enhance their appearance, it is also often used to correct medical issues. In a video released recently, an Iranian plastic surgeon from Turkey, dr. Yakub Avşar, explained how he employs 3D printing to improve the experience of his patients.

This does not mean that he has begun to print noses for his clientele; instead, he utilizes 3D printing technology to give patients a more realistic and accurate view of what they would look like post-surgery. As dr. Avşar explained, he has always seen a very close relationship between design and cosmetic surgery. He considers himself somewhat of an artist as he crafts appearances, and made clay moulds of patients faces in the past to help them get an understanding of what the surgery would change. This process was, however, time-consuming and he was never quite satisfied with the results.

After seeing a demonstration of a 3D printing and scanning technology, Avşar realised that this aspect of his work could greatly benefit from 3D printing. It now allows him, or so he argues, to create realistic before and after images for his patients. And while this would have to be verified, Avşar believes he is the only aesthetic plastic surgeon in the world currently employing this technology to improve his services.

This is how it works. Avşar and his employees create a digital scan of a patient’s features. Then through a software, detailed before and after images are made that supposedly accurately reflect the surgical procedures.

His before and after images are then 3D printed using a Projet 660 Pro. This professional-grade 3D printer is made by 3D Systems, and uses laser sintering technology to produce objects out of a white powder.

The excess powder from this procedure is removed from the build chamber using a vacuum, after which the 3D prints are fixed in a solution bath. The final result consists of highly-detailed and quite realistic looking masks of his patients’ faces. The video also features one of his patients, a young woman from Stockholm, who was very enthusiastic about the procedure and the 3D printed masks of her face. Seeing her own modified features before the actual surgery was described as:

I don’t know how it is to see your child for the first time or to, I don’t know, when the minister says you are married now, I don’t know those happy moments yet. But it was pure happiness seeing the faces, it was magical. It was magical actually.

Avşar explains how positive his patients are about this service, the results shown in this video certainly look very impressive and accurate. This video nonetheless illustrates how 3D printing technology is rapidly influencing medical practises as well.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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