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3D printer used to fashion model of youngster's skull

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 04/06/2015

Tessa with the model of her skull and new nose, which was created by a 3D printer
Tessa with the model of her skull and new nose, which was created by a 3D printer
Tessa in bed recovering from the operation
Tessa showing her delight at her new nose

A 3D printer was used to make a model of Tessa's skull.

Plastic surgeon Jonathan Britto then used a substance like modelling clay to design a small mould that fitted to her face underneath her skin.

The custom-made implant was then produced in medical grade material, ready for the operation.

It was inserted via an incision which was made behind her hairline, meaning that there is no scarring at all on her face.

Tessa will undergo surgery every couple of years to ensure her nose "grows" at the same rate as the rest of her body.

When she becomes a teenager, a final prosthesis will be fitted.

Nostrils and creases will then be tattooed onto her new nose.

Her condition, congenital arhinia, is defined as the absence of an external nose, nasal cavities and olfactory apparatus.

There are many misconceptions surrounding the defect, which has led to children being abandoned and put up for adoption.

Arhinia has been widely reported to be a life-threatening condition which requires a highly skilled neonatal resuscitation team in the delivery room. However, many babies born with the condition often go on to lead a healthy and normal life.

It is an extremely rare condition and poses a major challenge for surgeons.

There are a number of medical procedures that can be performed to reconstruct facial features, but it can often be very invasive for babies.

A 3D ultrasound with facial profile can detect the condition by 12-16 weeks during pregnancy.

In Grainne Evans' case, an abnormality was detected, but not correctly diagnosed until birth.

Belfast Telegraph

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