3-D printer helps rebuild man's face - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

3-D printer helps rebuild man's face

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CARDIFF, Wales -

Stephen Power says he didn't want to leave the privacy of his home after a motorbike crash disfigured his face two years ago.

"If I had to go out, I would wear the hat, glasses, basically anything I could do to disguise myself so I couldn't see it," he said.

Plastic surgery wasn't enough to repair the badly damaged bones in his face, so he still felt self-conscious. That all changed when British surgeons wheeled him into the operating room and printed a 3-D model of his face as a guide to transform his appearance. Doctors spent months planning the high-tech 3-D operation. They made titanium implants to help reconstruct Power's eye socket and cheekbone without affecting his eyesight.

"It's just like a jigsaw puzzle and you're putting the pieces back together where they fit," said Dr. Adrian Sugar, a surgeon.

The 29-year-old says the surgery has changed his life.

"I expected it to be a little bit better, but it wasn't. It was a lot different," power said.

Doctors say Power is one of the first trauma patients in the world to have the 3-D surgery.

Analysts say the 3-D printing industry was worth about $1.7 billion worldwide in 2011 and could grow to $3.7 billion by next year.

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