The two-year-old is about to receive an implant thanks to a 3D printer. The impressive fight of his parents
Tessa Evans suffers from arrinia, an extremely rare birth defect. Her parents, Nathan and Garinne Evans, found out about her condition while pregnant and began a path of struggle to ensure that her future daughter had a fulfilling life.
As detailed by the newspaper El Mundo, instead of opting for the reconstruction therapies known up to now, Dr. Jonathan Britto -of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital- proposed an ultra-technological solution to Tessa’s parents: they will design an implant that will be replaced with time for other implants adapted to the girl’s face as she grows.
The challenge is innovative and will prevent the little girl from suffering the facial scars that traditional reconstruction leaves behind. The path is not easy, the doctors will use a model of the girl’s skull, which will also be manufactured with a 3D printer.
“The nose will not have its natural function as an airway, but at least it will give a good cosmetic result,” explained Dr. Britto. “With the new method, and after a new implant at each growth age, we will have achieved tissue expansion. The nostrils will not be real, but tattooed, but the appearance will be that of a normal nose,” she explained.
The specialist explained to the Spanish newspaper that, unlike other methods used to date, the implant is inserted under the skin from an incision in the scalp, so it does not leave scars on the face. When the time comes to change the implant for a larger one, the incision is opened, as if it were an envelope, and so on until reaching the final prosthesis for the nose that the girl will have in her adolescence.
As a newborn, Tessa spent five weeks intubated, with a tracheotomy that allowed her to breathe without difficulty. “The doctors had to stabilize her so she could breathe on her own and that’s when they let me hold her for the first time,” recalls her mother. Over time, the little girl learned to breathe through her mouth.
“With this method, we will be able to avoid the most negative effects. It is a really exciting alternative, also taking into account that the girl will be able to benefit in the next decade from all the technological advances that are produced with 3D printers, which are revolutionizing the field of prosthetics”, assured the doctor.