Disfigured cancer survivor gets 3-D-printed face

Dylan Stableford

A British man whose cancer surgery four years ago left his face disfigured has been given a new face that was created using a 3-D printer.

Eric Moger, a 60-year-old restaurant manager, lost "the entire left side of his face, including his eye, his cheek bone and most of his jaw, leaving a gaping hole where his features had once been," according to London's Telegraph. Moger had eight reconstructive surgeries, but none was successful.

So after years of having people "stare and recoil at his disfigurement," Moger said, his doctor referred him to dental surgeon Andrew Dawood, who created a prosthetic face with three-dimensional printing technology that relied on scans of the right side of his face.

The prosthesis, made of toughened nylon and silicon, is held in place with magnets.

"I was amazed at the way it looks," Moger told the Telegraph. "When I had it in my hand, it was like looking at myself in my hands. When I first put it up to my face, I couldn't believe how good it looked."

The mask has also helped Moger consume water and food through his mouth rather than a tube.

"Before, I used to have to hold my hand up to my jaw to keep my face still so I could talk properly and I would have liquid running out the side of my face if I tried to drink," he said. "When I had that first glass of water wearing the prosthetic face, nothing came out—it was amazing."

Digital technology has helped improve the quality of life for many cancer survivors. Roger Ebert, the Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, had several unsuccessful surgeries intended to restore his ability to speak after his lower jaw was removed during cancer treatment. But in 2009, a Scottish company created a custom voice for Ebert to speak through typed notes on his Mac.