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Cancer survivor, 54, becomes the first person in the world to get a 3D printed face created using a SMARTPHONE



  • The patient had an invasive tumour that left a hole in his cheek in 2008
  • Most 3D printed prosthetics cost hundreds of thousands of pounds 
  • But researchers used a free smartphone app to make the 3D model
  • They hope to train as many people as possible to make the technology accessible in remote areas of the world with minimal health care services

By Shivali Best For Mailonline

Published: 09:14 EDT, 2 November 2016 | Updated: 10:17 EDT, 2 November 2016

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A cancer survivor has become the first person to receive a 3D printed face prosthesis made with a smart phone after a tumour ravaged a hole in his cheek.

The ground-breaking procedure used a free app on a smartphone to build and print a 3D image of the missing part of the patient's face.

Researchers now hope to train as many people as possible to make the affordable and practical technology accessible in remote areas of the world where people have minimal health care services.

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Carlito Conceiçao, 54,  has become the first person to receive a 3D printed face prosthesis made with a smartphone after a tumour ravaged a hole in his cheek. He was diagnosed  with an aggressive form of cancer in the upper palette of the mouth, in 2008 Carlito Conceiçao, 54,  has become the first person to receive a 3D printed face prosthesis made with a smartphone after a tumour ravaged a hole in his cheek. He was diagnosed  with an aggressive form of cancer in the upper palette of the mouth, in 2008

Carlito Conceiçao, 54,  has become the first person to receive a 3D printed face prosthesis made with a smartphone after a tumour ravaged a hole in his cheek. He was diagnosed  with an aggressive form of cancer in the upper palette of the mouth, in 2008

HOW IT WAS DONE

Dr Rodrigo Salazar from Paulista University (UNIP) in Sao Paulo used a free app called Autodesk 123D Catch, which turns photos into 3D models.

He took 15 images of the trauma area in a planned sequence at three different heights.

The photos were uploaded and converted into a virtual model of Mr Conceiçao's face.

Dr Salazar said: 'We mirrored the healthy side of Carlito's face then digitally sculpted it to fit the trauma side.'

The prototype of the patient's face was then created on a low-cost printer, which created a silicone prosthesis.

This was hand-finished by volunteer clinical artists who added skin colours, texture and realistic wrinkles to give a natural looking fit.

The artificial attachment was fitted with magnets that lock onto three titanium screws embedded under Mr Conceiçao's eyebrow.

Carlito Conceiçao, 54, used to be a salesman in Sao Paulo, but no longer works. 

He was diagnosed with upper maxillary carcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer in the upper palette of the mouth, in 2008.

The cancer spread rapidly, destroying facial tissue on the right side of his Mr Conceiçao's face and half of the roof of his mouth, as well as damaging his throat.

Life-saving surgery halted the spread before it reached his brain, but when the tumour was removed in 2008, it left a giant hole.

The married father-of-two lost his right eye socket and part of his nose, sending him into depression.

But in February, he was offered an innovative procedure which uses a smart phone for photogrammetry to build and print a 3D image of the missing part of his face.

The hand-finished silicon prosthesis, which is attached by magnets, and can easily be removed, has transformed his life by restoring his self-esteem.

Mr Conceiçao said: 'My first prosthesis was fragile, poor quality and kept falling off because it was held on by glue. I felt totally disfigured and I looked terrible.

'I lost all my confidence and fell into a deep depression.

'I couldn't work and became a recluse because people would stare and point whenever I went out. I used sunglasses to cover up the area most of the time.

'I was so impressed by the result of the new one, I cried when they fitted it.'

Dr Rodrigo Salazar from Paulista University (UNIP) in Sao Paulo used a free app called Autodesk 123D Catch, which turns photos into 3D models. He took 15 images of the trauma area. The photos were uploaded and converted into a virtual model of Mr Conceiçao's face Dr Rodrigo Salazar from Paulista University (UNIP) in Sao Paulo used a free app called Autodesk 123D Catch, which turns photos into 3D models. He took 15 images of the trauma area. The photos were uploaded and converted into a virtual model of Mr Conceiçao's face

Dr Rodrigo Salazar from Paulista University (UNIP) in Sao Paulo used a free app called Autodesk 123D Catch, which turns photos into 3D models. He took 15 images of the trauma area. The photos were uploaded and converted into a virtual model of Mr Conceiçao's face

Dr Rodrigo Salazar, a dentist and specialist in oral rehabilitation, from Paulista University (UNIP) in Sao Paulo, has been leading the project for two years.

He said: 'Brazil doesn't have the resources to equip all of its clinical centres with high-end technology.

'So, we've developed an alternative and simplified low-cost procedure that captures patients' facial anatomy and generates physical working models, giving us the equivalent results to prostheses produced on state-of-the-art equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of pounds.'

Dr Salazar said: 'We mirrored the healthy side of Carlito's face then digitally sculpted it to fit the trauma side.' The prototype of the patient's face was then created on a low-cost printer, which created a silicone prosthesis  Dr Salazar said: 'We mirrored the healthy side of Carlito's face then digitally sculpted it to fit the trauma side.' The prototype of the patient's face was then created on a low-cost printer, which created a silicone prosthesis 

Dr Salazar said: 'We mirrored the healthy side of Carlito's face then digitally sculpted it to fit the trauma side.' The prototype of the patient's face was then created on a low-cost printer, which created a silicone prosthesis 

Dr Salazar used a free app called Autodesk 123D Catch, which turns photos into 3D models.

He took 15 images of the trauma area in a planned sequence at three different heights.

He said: 'The rational for using a smartphone is that all modern mobile devices have an integrated accelerometer and a gyroscope sensor, which are automatically run by the application to guide the operator's 3D position during the photo capture sequence.'

Under the Plus ID project, doctors took less than 20 hours to create the prosthesis for Mr Conceiçao's face using smartphone images  Under the Plus ID project, doctors took less than 20 hours to create the prosthesis for Mr Conceiçao's face using smartphone images 

Under the Plus ID project, doctors took less than 20 hours to create the prosthesis for Mr Conceiçao's face using smartphone images 

The photos were uploaded and converted into a virtual model of Mr Conceiçao's face.

Dr Salazar said: 'We mirrored the healthy side of Carlito's face then digitally sculpted it to fit the trauma side.'

The prototype of the patient's face was then created on a low-cost printer, which created a silicone prosthesis.

This was hand-finished by volunteer clinical artists who added skin colours, texture and realistic wrinkles to give a natural looking fit.

During the process of creating the new prosthesis, a wax duplicate mould was used to make the silicone facial prosthesis  During the process of creating the new prosthesis, a wax duplicate mould was used to make the silicone facial prosthesis 

During the process of creating the new prosthesis, a wax duplicate mould was used to make the silicone facial prosthesis 

The artificial attachment was fitted with magnets that lock onto three titanium screws embedded under Mr Conceiçao's eyebrow.

Dr Luciano Dib, a maxillofacial surgeon who is involved in the project, performed the two-hour integration operation.

He said: 'This is a well-established procedure for anchoring cranio-facial prostheses.

'It means wearers can confidently go to the beach, take a shower, go to the gym and run without fear of the prosthesis falling off. And they can take it off at night to clean it.'

It is unclear how long the prosthetic will last before it needs to be replaced, but a silicone facial prosthesis typically lasts between one and three years depending on a number of factors, such as work and home environment, sun exposure, skin type and hygiene. 

The procedure is being pioneered by a team of physicians in Brazil and the US as a feasible low-cost alternative for clinical centres that do not have access to high-cost technology.

His old prosthesis was not fitted well His old prosthesis was not fitted well
The artificial attachment was fitted with magnets that lock onto three titanium screws embedded under Carlito's eyebrow The artificial attachment was fitted with magnets that lock onto three titanium screws embedded under Carlito's eyebrow

Carlito Conceiçao's old prosthesis (pictured left) was fragile and regularly fell off, but speaking of the new one (pictured right), he said:  'I was so impressed by the result of the new one, I cried when they fitted it'

Under the Plus ID project, doctors took less than 20 hours to create the prosthesis for Mr Conceiçao's face.

Rosemary Seelaus, an anaplastologist at the University of Illinois Hospital of Health Sciences System at Chicago who is part of the project, said: 'Our aim with the Plus ID project is to address a multi-dimensional problem that's global.

'Head and neck cancer is a huge public health issue around the world and many people don't have access to rehabilitative care when the disease mutilates the face.'

According to 2014 research by the Union of International Cancer Control, there are more than 550,000 cases of head and neck cancer incidences with around 300,000 deaths every year.

As an anaplastolgist, Dr Seelaus is one of only a few hundred experts in the world who has the skill-set of a clinician, artist and engineer to make external artificial parts from start to finish.

She added: 'Our intention is to train as many people as possible to make this affordable and practical technology accessible throughout South America, Africa and Asia and in remote areas of the world where people have minimal health care services.'

The prosthetic was hand-finished by volunteer clinical artists who added skin colours, texture and realistic wrinkles to give a natural looking fit The prosthetic was hand-finished by volunteer clinical artists who added skin colours, texture and realistic wrinkles to give a natural looking fit

The prosthetic was hand-finished by volunteer clinical artists who added skin colours, texture and realistic wrinkles to give a natural looking fit

 

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