Mandibular reconstruction in 3D, the medicine of the future

Among the most exciting advancements in modern surgery, there is one that not only helps the patient’s health, but improves the quality of life of this in an exponential way, we talk about jaw reconstruction surgery.

Reconstruction of an area involves recreating not only the shape and appearance of the injured or missing tissues, but also their function. Ideally, the reconstructed region should be seen, moved, felt and feel in precisely the same way that the original tissues once did when they were healthy.

Of the most common causes to carry out are segmental malformation of the jaw after tumor ablation or destruction of the tumor without removal, chronic osteomyelitis of the jaw or jaw fracture that does not heal or an acquired or congenital malformation of the jaw.

In this regard, Dr. David Alfi, oral and maxillofacial surgeon at Houston Methodist Hospital explained that “there are many different types of operations, most of them have a complete scope, from removing teeth and placing them, to very complex reconstructions.”

He added that, “my passion is the reconstruction of the jaw and it is that many people have a misalignment in the bite, where the lower and upper jaw do not square and there is asymmetry. For example, there are many people with a very small chin, but a large upper jaw or you can see people with a very large lower jaw, but who may have a very small upper jaw, so the latest technology and advancement in correction of these deformities greatly helps patients. ”

Traditional surgery took about 4 to 6 hours, in which the patient’s jaw was broken and then stone models and three-dimensional techniques were used to produce the new jaw, as well as many personnel to wire it, leaving the patient for weeks without being able to open mouth. But now this is history and Dr. Alfi tells us about surgical innovation in this area.

“What I am using is 3D technology to take an image of the scan; on a computer I can predict the jaw exactly where it should be in 3 dimensions, to see if there is symmetry, if the teeth are aligned correctly and if the face is well balanced, and on top of that we use titanium 3D printers to print the custom plates for that patient, in this way, the plates will be printed to fit perfectly just for him. “

With this technique, “we are obtaining personalized titanium plates and screws, in addition to allowing us to eliminate any weakness in the plate, we also eliminate any errors, such as the most common of putting the jaws in a position that was not exactly what we planned. For this reason, using this technology the results are very, very precise, in addition to allowing us to optimize in time and what we used to do in more than 4 hours, now we do in less than 2. “

Regarding the recovery and risks of a surgery of this type, Dr. Alfi commented that “they are minor and the patient generally stays only one night in the hospital, ready to go home the next day, and not having to wire them , they can open their mouths, speak and eat immediately after the operation. “

To be a candidate for this type of surgery, the patient must present “some asymmetry or that a bite is forward or backward, or a weak or strong jaw.”

In addition to solving the issue of the bite and for patients to regain 100 percent of this mobility in a normal way, Dr. Alfi added that it also helps people who have sleep apnea derived from poor jaw formation that causes the tongue does not have insufficient space.


Located in the Texas Medical Center, Houston Methodist Hospital has been ranked number one in the state of Texas and in the city of Houston for 9 consecutive years by the prestigious US News & World Report magazine (2012-2020). In 2021, Newsweek magazine included the Houston Methodist in the list of the 100 best hospitals worldwide.

Houston Methodist Hospital is recognized in the world for its cutting-edge medical research, for the care and care of its patients and for its areas of high specialty in: Oncology, Cardiology and Heart Surgery; Diabetes and Endocrinology; Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal Surgery; Geriatrics; Nephrology; Neurology and Neurosurgery; Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; Pulmonology and Transplants; Otolaryngology and Gynecology.

Additionally, Houston Methodist Hospital is recognized worldwide for its leadership in covid-19 research. Houston Methodist Hospital has a renowned Wellness area where first-rate studies and check-ups are carried out. In this way, a complete and comprehensive picture of the physical and health status of each individual is obtained and, through a multidisciplinary group of experts, a precise and personalized future health program can be built.

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