*Sometimes, advances in science just completely blow my mind — and when what had been “science fiction” becomes reality, I marvel at a God that has allowed me to live to see it.
Doctors have implanted a 3D-printed nose onto a person for the first time in the US. In doing so, they’ve completely changed the life of a teenager, Dallan Jennet, who’d been critically burned when he was only 9 years old.
Dallan fell on a live power line near his home in the Marshall Islands. His entire face was burned, leaving the boy with severe facial scarring and a hole where his nose had been.
Dallan spent the next five years in self-imposed isolation. Because he didn’t want anyone staring at his face, he even dropped out of school.
Dr. Tal Dagan, 44, changed the course of Dallan’s life. He heard about Dallan’s case during an August 2014 trip to the Marshall Islands, and was intrigued. Once he met Dallan, he knew he had to do what he could to help.
“He was depressed,” Dagan shared of Dallan, “just sitting there on a rock and staring at the ground. He didn’t want to look up at me.”
After a preliminary surgery last June that expanded the remaining skin around where Dallan’s nose used to be, he went to New York City where Dagan and his team created a 3D-printed facial device that would look and function like a real nose.
In order to make it look natural, the team used models based on noses of Dallan’s family members. Then, they used donor cartilage to build Dallan’s new nose and used tissue from the teen’s forehead to create the outside of the nose.
If that’s not some science fiction Six Million Dollar Man sh&t, I don’t know what is!
“You’re getting a completely new type of technology,” Dagan told CBS.
The procedure went so well that doctors hope to use the same technique on soldiers returning from war who need facial reconstruction surgery.
In the meantime, Dallan, now 15, is doing great. According to Dagan, he’s finally ready to go back to school, and even has a girlfriend. And Dallan himself says the nose is working fine.
“I like to smell everything,” Dallan told CBS, adding that pepperoni pizza is his favorite thing to smell.
I’d love to treat the kid to some pizza. I’d also love to shake Dr. Dagan’s hand. And I LOVE stories like this!