February 10, 2009 Mass-production technology has revolutionized so much of modern life that we take it for granted - but early iterations of all technologies were hand-built, relying on the skills and intuition of master craftsmen for the effectiveness of each end product. It might surprise you to learn that in the field of facial reconstructive surgery, the vast majority of work is still being done in a pre-industrial revolution fashion - and results for patients who present with horribly disfiguring facial tumors or bone injuries are as varied and inconsistent as the human hands that do the work. Dr. Ninian Peckitt, originally from the UK, has pioneered a truly revolutionary "Engineering Assisted Surgery" approach that uses advanced CT-to-CAD modeling, rapid stereolithographic prototyping, pinpoint CAD design, electron beam melting (EBM) mass-production and error-eliminating surgical procedures. The results are absolutely stunning. Patients that would normally require traumatic 20-hour operations involving complicated, imprecise and ugly bone grafts are being fitted with incredibly precise, long-lasting titanium facial inserts so effective that once surgical scars fade you'd never know they had a facial injury. Surgery is simple and can often be completed in an hour or two using techniques that eliminate human errors - and the entire procedure comes in at a fraction of the price. Peckitt's work is amazing - but if powerful lobbies in the medical fraternity have their way, it may cost him his career.
Read the full article: Rebuilding the face: medicine meets engineering at the beginning of an industrial revolution