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Jaw and Palate Rebuilt in Daring Procedure

Jaw and Palate Rebuilt in Daring Procedure Modern medicine and technology continue to defy odds, and this story from the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle is no different. UW surgeons, including two School of Dentistry faculty members, recently made

Jaw and Palate Rebuilt in Daring Procedure

Modern medicine and technology continue to defy odds, and this story from the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle is no different. UW surgeons, including two School of Dentistry faculty members, recently made headlines when they rebuilt a patient’s upper jaw and hard palate. In a bold 15-hour procedure, the surgeons were able to rely on three-dimensional (3D) computerized design technology, as well as implant-bone integration technology. This immediate reconstruction and rehabilitation procedure was completed on May 16 at the UW Medical Center.

Speaking about the procedure, the surgeons proudly shared that only a few medical centers worldwide offer this approach—which maximizes the use of osseointegration. The 3D computer-aided design technology and virtual computer modeling work in tandem with the osseointegration process to enable surgeons to precisely design a new set of teeth that will offer the fit and esthetics of natural dentition.

The patient was a 56-year-old man whose teeth were removed during oral cancer surgery in 2003.The surgical team used a 3D computer-generated cutting guide to position the metal implants on the patient’s fibula. The same guide was used to harvest segments of this area with imbedded implants that were later used to reconstruct his upper jaw.

Traditionally, grafts from the fibula bone were used as a base for reconstruction. This, however, requires months of healing and osseointegration prior to implantation and, later, prostheses placement. With the reconstruction and rehabilitation procedure, however, implants were embedded in the fibula 10 months prior to the surgery. On surgery day, the harvested portion of the fibula and its embedded implants were used to mimic the shape of the upper jaw. Acrylic teeth were affixed to the bone grafts. Then the entire structure was transferred to the patient’s mouth, with the end result comprising a restored upper jaw, hard palate, and full set of upper teeth.

The procedure, however, is not without risk, including the possibility of decreased blood supply to the new bone structure and failure of the implants to integrate. Though these risks exist, the patient will once again be able to enjoy many everyday activities such as speaking clearly, swallowing normally, and eating thanks to a precision-fitting prosthesis.

Hygiene Connection E-Newsletter

August 2016

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