According to the Pentagon, the first recipient of the Defense Department’s first jaw repair utilising 3D-printed teeth is a Marine Corps soldier.
A tumour necessitated the removal of the majority of Cpl. Jaden Murry’s jaw in an operation scheduled for November 2020.
It was rebuilt using a piece of his fibula, or lower leg bone, but his bottom teeth were created using a computer model, which was then printed into a real replacement bridge and fitted into the new jaw.
Murry is a member of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center’s Logistics Battalion 7 in Twentynine Palms, California.
The surgery was conducted by a multi-department team of surgical specialists at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.
“All of the providers worked as a team to keep his recovery on track,” Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hammer, maxillofacial surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon, said in a press release.
“We were able to safely remove his tracheostomy tube [inserted in a patient’s neck when there are concerns about postoperative breathing] within a week of the surgery, and it was then we knew he was making strides in the right direction.”
Murry is recovering in the Naval Center’s Wounded Warrior Battalion, and on a diet of soft foods. A final prosthetic set of teeth will be available to him in about two months.
“Since his surgery, [OMFS specialists and I] see Jaden twice weekly for check-ups, and we’re guiding his healing process,” Hammer said in December. “To see him swallowing, speaking, walking and not using a tracheostomy tube one week post-surgery was a huge victory, both for [Murry] and for us.”
The accomplishment is also part of a programme created by the United States Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, whose researchers strive to enhance head and face reconstruction by utilising the body’s inherent healing processes, in this case by fibula transfer to the jaw.
Murry stated that he is excited to return to the Marine Corps.
“I really look forwards to getting back to a healthy mindset and working out, running and bodybuilding,” he added, adding that when he can eat solid food again, he will seek out pizza.