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Conjoint Grant - 2019

3D Printing for Reconstruction of Mandible in Head and Neck Cancer
Dr Elizabeth Sigston & Dr Andrey Molotnikov

Project Description

Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) is the 6th most common cancer worldwide, affecting 2078 Australians per year. HNSCC includes cancers of the mouth (oral cavity), such as tongue cancer, and the upper throat (oropharynx), such as tonsil cancer. These cancers can invade into the bones of the upper and lower jaw (maxilla and mandible). Surgery remains the main treatment for these cancers. Reconstruction is often required. Current reconstruction techniques to replace resected jaw bone involves taking bone taken from the leg (fibula) or hip bone (iliac crest). This can create significant short, medium and long term problems for our patients at the donor site as well as the site of cancer. Emergence of 3D printing technologies has created the possibility that exogenous materials could be used in place of bone in reconstruction. Some use of this technology has been employed for reconstruction in trauma and benign disease processes, supporting the viability of this project. The majority of HNSCC patients require postoperative radiotherapy, a major barrier to using current materials in reconstruction. Our project aims to produce a radiotherapy compatible implant.

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