3D Printing Restores Lost Smile and Faith of a Brave, Wounded BSF Jawan


A year ago, Border Security Force (BSF) Jawan, Chopse Sangtam was hit by a bullet fired by Maoist. The bullet went through Sangtam’s skull, destroyed his right eye and a part of his cranial bone, disfiguring his face. A year later, and post a custom cranial implant conducted using 3D printing; Sangtam is now all smiles as 3D printing technology allowed Sangtam restore his normal facial contours and most importantly his fighting spirit that he had lost a result of facial disfigurement.

Sangtam’s Story

A year ago, a critically wounded, Sangtam was airlifted from Bastar in south Chattisgarh where the brave jawan was battling Maoists, to a private hospital in Raipur. Sangtam survived the gunshot but the bullet left Sangtam’s face disfigured. The once jovial, 26-year old Sangtam had lost all hope and most importantly his fighting spirit because of his facial disfigurement. He soon started exploring all medical options that could help restore his face as well as the lost spirit of returning to normal life.

3D Printing Custom Implant
Doctors used 3D printing technology and conducted a cranial implant to restore damaged parts of the skull/Image Credit: The New Indian Express

Sangtam’s colleagues came to rescue and took him to a governmental dental college in Raipur where he met Dr. Neeraj Chandrakar, a prosthodontist. Sangtam’s case was now in the hands of a prosthodontist and three maxillofacial surgeons. All these four doctors conducted reconstructive surgical procedure using 3D printing technology. Speaking about the procedure, Dr Chandrakar said, “We used a new technology, surgical planning software, to get the orientation of the final outcome. With the help of 3D printing technology, a custom cranial implant for the affected part of the skull was created”. “Follow-up assistance from a private firm, Changing Faces India, was taken”, Dr. Chandrakar added.

To help Sangtam recover normal facial contours, a team of doctors led by Dr. Biju Papachan placed a custom cranial implant. In a procedure lasted more than one and a half hour, doctors used a combination of three technologies namely digital 3D design, medical imaging, and 3D printing. These three technologies were combined together. For example, doctors used surgical planning software to find the damages done to the skull by the bullet. The 3-D image of the skull showed damages to front bone of the skull. Damages to the front bone had also damaged Satnam’s right eye.

The doctors turned to 3D printing technology and with the help of 3D printing, the doctors conducted a custom cranial implant to restore the affected part in Sangtam’s skull. Dr. Chandrakar added the final touches to the reconstruction procedure by placing custom eye prosthesis later. The procedure, which otherwise costs around 40,000 INR, was conducted free of cost, Chandrakar said.

Source: The New Indian Express