(WYTV) — 3D technology is playing a very important role these days in cancer treatment. It can even help patients who need a new jaw.
The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center has pioneered a new tool to aid doctors in jaw reconstruction. It’s for those with cancer that has spread to the jawbone and life-saving surgery will affect their quality of life.
Using MRI and CT scans, doctors 3D print an exact replica of their patient’s jaw, helping to guide critical decisions in the operating room.
“We can actually bring a real-life template into the operating room that gives us a lot more precision on where to make the cuts and how to align things afterwards,” said oncologist Dr. Kyle VanKoevering.
The surgeons also use the model to custom-tailor and shape new bone to replace what they had to remove, the new bone often coming from a patient’s arm or leg. The bone grafts heal better, and there is little chance of a fracture or an infection.
So far, the surgeons at Ohio State have used this technique in more than 200 cancer cases, most for jaw reconstruction. But they’re also using it in other tumor cases involving the spine, pelvis and more.