A man has enjoyed his first real dinner in nine years after a pioneering operation to rebuild his jaw using an artifical bone grown in one of the muscles of his back. German scientists today reveal the success of a bioengineering feat that enabled the patient to sit down to sausages and bread instead of soup for the first time since his lower mandible was removed because of cancer.
In the Lancet medical journal, they say the man’s jaw could not otherwise have been restored without taking bone from his leg, which would have done him serious damage.
The surgical team is delighted with the progress of the 54-year-old and already have more candidates on their books.
Patrick Warnke, of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University of Kiel, and colleagues designed a titanium wire mesh cage to the mandible’s size and shape.
They filled it with bone mineral blocks as well as human bone protein and some of the patient’s own stem cells. The mesh frame was inserted into the muscle below the right shoulder blade. In seven weeks, there had been sufficient bone regeneration to remove the graft and transplant it into the man’s jaw.
The above story is reprinted from materials provided by The Guardian, Sarah Boseley.