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3-D printer saves man’s eye

At UAMS, doctors used 3-D imaging and printing to re-create a man's face and save his eye after a traumatic accident. (KATV photo)

3-D printing has changed the medical field. It's used for everything from instruments to implants.

At UAMS, doctors used 3-D imaging and printing to re-create a man's face and save his eye after a traumatic accident.

“I was out checking oil wells and I attempted to step up on the unit and there was a spot of grease and my foot slipped and I fell into the engine face first,” Sidney Todd said. “When I reached up I felt the blood, I knew I'd hurt myself,”

His face caught on the engine's cylinder.

Todd was rushed to UAMS, where Dr. Jennings Boyette, the director of facial plastic surgery, determined he had broken his cheek bone as well as his eye socket.

The force of the trauma moved his eye down in the eye socket, using extreme double vision as well as putting the optical nerve at risk.

“After the injury his eye slowly regressed back into his skull and was at different levels, so we needed to rebuild his eye socket from the ground up,” Dr. Boyette said.

Using CT scans and 3-D printing, Dr. Boyette and Dr. John Pemberton, a UAMS oculoplastic surgeon, created a model of what his skull should look like…and used that to create an implant.

“We then took titanium and molded it into the model to recreate the bottom wall and the side wall of his eye socket to the exact dimensions so it would be perfect,” Dr. Boyette said.

Nearly a year later Todd says he's almost good as new.

“Unless you knew it, you can't tell this happened,” Todd said.

He says his vision is also back to 100 percent.

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