Israeli doctors implant Syrian man with titanium jaw in pioneering procedure

The 23-year-old man suffered a bullet wound that completely destroyed his lower jaw.

January 6, 2015 15:11
1 minute read.
Doctors at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center treat a Syrian patient

Doctors at Haifa's Rambam Medical Center treat a Syrian patient. (photo credit: RAMBAM HOSPITAL SPOKESMAN)


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A 23-year-old Syrian has received a pioneering jaw implant made from titanium after a bullet wound in his country’s civil war completely destroyed his lower jaw.

Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center announced the successful operation using the customized artificial jawbone created on a 3D printer. The dental implant company that manufactures the implants – Ashdod-based AB Dental – provided the Syrian man with the metal “bone” at no charge, while the Health and Defense ministries and Rambam covered the cost of the procedure.

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The man had reached Rambam in critical condition, after the rifle bullet rendered him unable to speak or eat.

One day after surgery, the patient was eating and speaking.

Prof. Adi Rachmiel, director of Rambam’s department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, performed the pioneering operation with Dr. Yoav Leiser, who recently returned from training in Germany.

There, Leiser specialized in restoring eye sockets, jaws and cheek bones.

“We succeeded in returning his human quality,” Leiser said of the patient, whose face had been torn, jaw smashed and bottom teeth blown out.

In the procedure, called a Patient Specific Implant, doctors created a jaw perfectly suited to the patient. While such procedures previously demanded the connection of many plates, PSI requires only one individualized plate, serving as a custom-made “replacement part.” Further, all planning is done before and not during surgery, saving time and yielding superior results. To compensate for the fact that the patient had no medical records, doctors relied on statistical models.

After the surgical success, three Israeli patients – apparently oral cancer survivors who need new jaws – are scheduled to undergo similar innovative treatments; thus local patients will benefit from the doctors’ experience.

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