Anelia Myburgh, a 31-year-old woman from Melbourne who lost most over her upper jaw and teeth to cancer has been offered a second chance in life thanks to Maxillofacial Surgeon George Dimitroulis, who customised a 3D printed jaw.
The fitted 3D mandible featuring a titanium frame, has changed Ms Myburgh’s life who had been left embarrassed and self-conscious, let alone unable to experience basic functions like eating or talking normally.
It all starter in April 2017, when she was diagnosed with jaw cancer after she noticed a small bump above her teeth, which was causing them to move and decided to have it checked with the dentist.
While a team of specialists reassured her it was fine, the test results that came a week later proved it was cancer which resulted in Ms Myburgh undergoing immediate lie-saving surgery to remove most of her upper jaw and part of her lips.
The patient was then left with only two teeth at the back of each side of her mouth and a deformed face.
People’s reactions – who sometimes stopped to take photos of her – made her avoid leaving her home and covering her face with a surgical mask if she had to.
“We communicate with our mouths, we eat with our mouths, if you don’t have a mouth we can’t really live in a way a person takes for granted,” Ms Myburgh told Nine News.
It wasn’t until she started researching possible treatment online that she stumbled upon Dr Dimitroulis’ work and previous successful procedures he had performed on patients using 3D technology.
Dr Dimitroulis assessed the case and decided to move forward with creating a 3D mandible for Ms Myburgh that would also allow teeth to be implanted.
The surgery only lasted a few hours and as seen on Nine News, Ms Myburgh’s new teeth look and feel like normal.
The doctors also took skin from the her forearm to recreate her lip.
“I can now enjoy life and meals with my friends,” the finance worker told Nine News.
“I’m slowly gonna get that burger!”