Imagine being called a freak all throughout your life. It’s exactly what happened to Carlos Askew. Born with hemi-facial microsomia, the 21-year-old Kiwi never fit in, no matter how hard he tried. Growing up, the youngster preferred hiding behind the mask of his favorite superheroes instead. Until consultant maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Derek Goodisson (New Zealand) used TruMatch® CMF 3D-printed patient-specific titanium implants to mitigate his facial deformity. This pioneering operation was a first in New Zealand and, more importantly, enabled Carlos to face the world anew.
The congenital disorder hemi-facial microsomia (HMF) is caused by an in utero vascular malfunction that results in an underdevelopment of structures related to the affected artery. In Carlos’s case, HMF manifested itself in facial asymmetry and left him partially deaf. If that wasn’t enough of a rough start, Carlos was placed in state care, shunted from family to family, and abused until he arrived on the doorstep of his current foster family, the Askews.
Now 21, Carlos wants what most young people his age want: a social circle, a job, and someone special in his life. But for him, his asymmetrical face remains the biggest obstacle to achieving this ‘normal’ life. An obstacle that made him feel worthless to a point where he contemplated suicide.
Carlos Askew’s story showcases the true potential of 3D Planning and Printing. The ProPlan CMF® software enabled the creation of detailed preoperative plans, allowed for the design of patient-specific implants, reduced the number of intraoperative decisions as well as the turnaround time, and facilitated a more predictable outcome. The customized fit helped restore the symmetry of Carlos’s face. But more than anything, this pioneering surgery improved Carlos’s quality of life significantly.