After a hell of a lot of garbage, 2015 seems determined to go out on a high, or at least a redemptive note. Tonight, raise one of your many toasts to 14-year-old Dallan Jennet, who just became the first person in the U.S. to receive a 3D-printed nose.
A fall on a live power line at the age of nine horribly burned Jennet’s face and removed his nose entirely. Earlier this year he was flown out of his home in the Marshall Islands to New York’s Mount Sinai hospital where specialists at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary were able to restore his sense of smell and taste. The new nose, added in what is effectively a nose transplant, is customized to his face so all his normal functions can be fully restored.
As the doctors explained in a Mount Sinai blog post:
“The procedure is akin to a ‘nose transplant’ in that we were able to replace the nose with a functional implant,” says lead physician Dr. Dagan. “This procedure may be a breakthrough in facial reconstruction because the patient will never have to deal with the standard issues of transplantation, such as tissue rejection or a lifetime of immunosuppressive therapies.”
There’ve been some amazing developments in 3D-printed prosthetics in the last few years, with designers able to match even pores, skin tone, and wrinkles for a more organic feel. Compared to now-possible 3D-printed hands and artificial limbs controlled with thought, a nose sounds like a cake walk. Bring on 2016.