back to article Printed jaw lets woman swallow again

3D printing techniques have been taken to jaw-dropping heights after an 83-year-old woman was given a replacement mandible. She becomes the first patient ever to be fitted with a printed lower jaw. Given the old dear's age, and the fact that her lower jaw was so badly infected, traditional surgery was deemed too much of a risk …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any word on what cutting-edge tech they used for bearings..?

    Ooh, you youngsters with your sintering technology.

    The price of titanium nowadays.

    These biscuits aren't as crunchy as they used to be.

  2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    "...and print a new set off"

    I can think of lots (well, actually not that many) of nasty things a teenager is more likely to print before they even realise their ruined jaws.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I hope they did not bite of more than they could chew

    runs for cover

    1. DJV Silver badge

      @Michael H.F. Wilkinson

      Ha ha. Are you running for cover because of the joke or because you used "of" instead of "off"?

  4. Silverburn

    One downside

    ...with replacing mandibles & teeth - particularly teeth...there's no nerves.

    For the seemingly insane idea of evolving nerves in your teeth and the subsequent pain of a cavity, it's actually a good idea as it's the main gauge by which you choose your chewing power.

    Though having said that...titanium teeth that take 100 years to wear out do sound pretty cool.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Impressive stuff

    Book me in for a full 3D skeleton scan, then when I need a hip replacement I can just order the relevant bits from Amazon.

    1. Jim Coleman

      @AC: If you order from Amazon, it'll be some shoddy Marketplace vendor that gets your order, then they'll send you a knock-off hip joint made of plaster and disappear without trace when you email them about the fact you can't walk very far without crumbling to dust.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or they'd get the wrong item

        And end up replacing your indigo starfish...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Mental note: make sure I turn on safe search next time I'm looking for new alloy rims.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Roger Ebert

    I wonder if Roger Ebert is looking at this. I may not always agree with his movie reviews, but it sucks what happened to the guy, and I'm sure he would love to have his jaw (and voice) back - it's just a question of if he's willing to undergo the pain and suffering to get it back.

  7. Graham Wilson
    Thumb Up

    This is a remarkable technology still in its infancy.

    I've some printed objects on my desk (both metal and plastic ones) that would be very difficult to make by any other process.

    I watched this printing process in action and I'm convinced that it's still very much in it's infancy. Nevertheless, soon the process will be very much faster and also the resolution will significantly improve. Improved CAD tools will also speed up the design process.

    In a few years printing objects will be commonplace and we'll wonder how we ever managed without it.

    In the future, expect to see many more 'human' parts printed this way (the technology is ideally suited for making them).

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      Good luck with that one unless you either

      a) have an unprecedented healing ability or

      b) like picking your nose with a really long scalpel blade

      1. Code Monkey

        c) never want to travel on a plane. If they're touchy about 101ml of toothpaste, they'll really have a sense of humour failure about adamantium claws

        1. AdamWill

          on the other hand...

          on the other hand, they may have some trouble actually stopping you.

  9. Keep Refrigerated

    Is it just me...

    That can see it all going horribly wrong!

    What if some insect such as a fly was to accidentally get added into the 3D modelling process?

  10. Triggerfish

    Hip bones

    Years ago in mech eng I saw an experiment about this where they used a laser to build up a hip replacment, the surgeon said it was the way forward as at the moment they have to literally hack off bits of bone to make the person fit the replacement,

    Have been waiting to hear an article like this since 3d printings has become news.

  11. Peladon

    Everything starts somewhere... - March 2011

    "Surgeon Anthony Atala demonstrates an early-stage experiment that could someday solve the organ-donor problem: a 3D printer that uses living cells to output a transplantable kidney. Using similar technology, Dr. Atala's young patient Luke Massella received an engineered bladder 10 years ago; we meet him onstage."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Titanium teeth

    And a smile like a Terminator's.

    1. dssf

      DAMMIT, hahahaha

      You took the words right out of my mouth...

      I guess I'll have to chew on something else... Speaking of chewing...

      Add these to RealDoll, and those mandibles can man-nibble....

  13. Winston Smith

    Richard Kiel

    This is truly a great step forward for Bond villains.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Printed jaw lets woman swallow again

    I don't see the humor in an 83-year-old woman requiring surgery ..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The reasoning may be along the lines of similar medical procedure developments I've heard of in the past, i.e. "at least if we fuck this up she'll not have to live with it for long, if we did it with someone in their twenties we'd probably have to fix it."

  15. Ian Stephenson
    Thumb Up

    Glad the comma was in the subtitle...

    Lets eat Grandma is more soylent green.

  16. Stuart Halliday

    "Jaw-dropping" ? Oh I see what you did there. Please don't...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How Long

    before the print file is hosted on pirate bay?

  18. Local Group

    Grandmother, what a big jaw you have.

    The better to complain about the service in this 4th rate nursing home, my dear.

  19. Chris Parsons

    "Given the old dear's age..."

    FYI, when I took my IMC rating to add to my pilot's licence last summer, my instructor was 82. He rides a motorbike and is planning a tour on it across the US this summer. His girlfriend is 25. Not all old people are ready for the scrap heap, you know.

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