This 2-Year-Old Girl Got A New Smile Thanks To Doctors And 3-D Printing

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This beautiful two-year-old girl is back to her giggly, mischievous self only six months after surgeons used revolutionary 3D printing techniques to completely reshape her face.

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Violet Pietrok’s mother, Alicia Taylor, told ABC news: “She’s fantastic. She’s so happy…all the time. If she’s not smiling, she’s generally asleep or throwing a fit.”

The toddler was born as a twin, shown above, but unlike her sister she suffered a rare defect called Tessier facial cleft.  Whilst in the womb, the bones that normally fuse to join form the foetal face did not connect, and so Violet was left with a large gap in the centre of her face and with no cartilage in her nose. Just 100 cases of frontonasal dysplasi, Violet’s type of Tessier cleft, have ever been documented, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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Above is what cute little Violet looked like before the revolutionary surgery aided by 3-D imaging and printing.

Last October, Violet underwent six-hour-long major surgery at Boston’s Children Hospital with both a plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon.

Before the operation, doctors printed a 3D model of Violet’s skull based on magnetic resonance imaging pictures, the New York Times reported. Further models allowed surgeon Dr John Meara to test the method to adjoin Violet’s face, while not interfering with her brain or nerve functions.


In the past, such models would have cost Violet’s parents thousands of pounds and would have taken weeks to build. But Dr Peter Weinstock at the children’s hospital was able to produce four highly accurate models for $1,200 (£813) according to the New York Times. Hooray for modern advancements in technology and 3-d printing!

“The value of the model like this is huge,” Meara explains in a video for Boston Children’s Hospital. “This gives me the ability to see on this model better than I will in the operating room.”

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A complication in February meant Violet had to be operated on once more, and the dissolvable plates were removed. The plates had encouraged enough bone growth that Vilets face can now support itself. In the picture above from left to right you can see the CT scans of before the operation, Violet with the plates on and then Violet now. The change is awe inspiring.

This procedure has changed Violet’s life, and although she will need to have further procedures on her jaw and other things throughout her life – for now, she’s doing well.

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Ms Taylor added that she hopes that by sharing Violet’s story, less people will be shocked by facial deformities

Violet’s parents also have a Facebook page called “Violet’s Journey” where you can get updates on cute little violet

 

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