Surgeons at Burnley General Hospital are to get a new 3D printer and software costing more than £32,000 to help them treat patients with mouth, jaw, face and head cancers.
The printer, bought with help from Rosemere Cancer Foundation, will be used to make templates and models to help surgeons plan complex operations as accurately as possible, helping to reduce the time patients spend in theatre.
Mr Derek Moore, Restorative Consultant in Oral Surgery at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I think the 3D printer will be enormously helpful. From my point of view, it will help with implant planning which may help reduce the risk of post-operative complications thereby improving healing and outcomes.”
The enhanced 3D print-outs will outdate the likes of taking x-rays and making laboratory impressions, which surgeons currently have to rely on to help them build and fit implants in operations where for example, they need to reconstruct the jaw or another part of the face.
Where restoration is not possible and a prosthetic is necessary, working to a 3D model should enable doctors to create a more accurate, better fitting, patient-pleasing prosthesis in a shorter time.
Through the model, the patient can also be shown this expected end result prior to their operation, which may help alleviate some of their fears and anxieties.
Rosemere Chief Officer Sue Thompson added: “Surgeons working in this field are highly specialised and have to confront very challenging situations.
“While this printer should help them in their assessment and planning, its ultimate benefit is for the patient to ensure that they receive the most aesthetically pleasing result so that they can go on to experience better well being and a better quality of life.”
Rosemere Cancer Foundation, which is currently heading up an appeal to raise £100,000 towards a new chemotherapy unit at Burnley General Hospital that will be second to none when it opens next year, fund-raises to bring world class cancer treatment and services to patients throughout Lancashire and South Cumbria.
It spends the donations it receives on vital equipment, research and training in local hospitals and the specialist regional Rosemere Cancer Centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, which the NHS is unable to fund.
It also funds patient welfare projects, including providing free access to complementary therapies for those going through treatment, and working to make the surroundings in which treatment is given more patient-friendly.
For further information, visit its website at www.rosemere.org.uk. The new 3D printer is expected to be with surgeons in January.