Updated 24 July 2014

SA's first 3D-printed jaw bone implantation a success

South African doctors have successfully performed the country's first ever 3D-printed jaw bone implantation, changing the lives of two men and providing hope for many others.

South African doctors and surgeons have successfully used 3D printing to transform the lives of two facially deformed men.

According to a story published in Die Burger on 24 July 2014, the two Northern Cape patients involved in the procedure had severely disfigured jaws.

One of the patients, a 31-year-old man from Kimberley, had half of his lower jaw replaced which had been destroyed by a tumour.

The second patient, a 20-year-old man from Kuruman, broke his lower jaw steel implantation.

Both men now have 3D “bone” printed in titanium powder, replacing their their lower jaw.

Read: Disorders affecting the jaw

Although it is not yet possible for teeth to be implanted into titanium jaws, the metal is compatible with the human body, making it less likely to be rejected when used to replace bone structures.

Prosthodontist professor Cules van den Heever, one of the surgeons involved, was reported as saying that the procedure is long and painful, and does not always succeed.

According to Die Burger the procedures were performed by five medical specialists and took place at the Kimberley hospital.

The patients' new jawbones were printed by The Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein.

This is the first time such a procedure is performed in South Africa and only the second time it is performed in the world.

Gerrie Booysen told Die Burger that during the 3D-printing process tiatniu powder was melted layer upon layer to create a precise replika of the patients jaw. Through this technology the cost of the implant has dropped from R100 000 to R20 000.

The very first 3D printed titanium jaw implant saved the jaw of an 80-year-old woman and was performed by various professionals from Belgium and the Netherlands from the University of Hasselt’s Biomed research institute.

LayerWise built the first complete lower jaw implant; here's how:

Read more:

Dental implants not always best choice
Dental implants and bone loss
Lifelike ears created with 3D printing

Sources: Die Burger;; Youtube

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert

Oral health expert

Dr Imraan Hoosen qualified from the Medical University of South Africa in 1997. Together with his partner, Dr Hoosen now runs a group of dental practices around Johannesburg (Lesedi Private Hospital, Highlands North Medical Centre , Brenthurst Clinic, Parklane Clinic, Simmonds Street Medical and Dental Centre, Soni Medical Centre- Newclare). Dr Hoosen can be contacted on 011 933 4096.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules