Cancer survivor Eric Moger who lost half face gets 3D-printed face
Eric Moger, 60, had to have almost all of the left side of his face removed after he was diagnosed with an aggressive tennis ball-sized tumour.
The life-saving surgery left a gaping hole in his face, leaving him unable to speak clearly. He also had to be fed through a tube.
But four years later, after appearing on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, Mr Moger has been fitted with a new prosthetic face and is planning to marry his fiance Karen Hunger, 48.
His new face – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – was made using pioneering 3D printing technology.
This uses scans to build images of how his face should look – using a mirror image of the undamaged side of the face.
The new 3D printer then built a nylon mould of his face layer by layer – and this was used to create a silicon prosthesis.
Mr Moger, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma – which occurs when small growths called polyps grow into tumours – four years ago.
By the time the lump was discovered – during a routine operation to remove nasal polyps – the cancer was very advanced.
In order to save his life, surgeons at University College London Hospital removed his left eye, cheekbone and most of his jaw.
As a result, he had to be fed through a feeding tube and had to hold his face still to be able to talk.
Mr Moger told MailOnline: ‘When I went in for the emergency surgery, I never expected to have so much of my face removed.
‘When I woke up from thought "I’m never going to get my face back again". It was so shocked that it didn’t sink in for a while.’
But in the weeks and months that followed, he felt increasingly depressed about his appearance and quality of life.
‘I couldn’t eat as food just came out of the side of my face – and I had to hold my mouth to talk,’ he said.
‘I felt very depressed as couldn’t see how anything was ever going to change. I didn’t want to get out of bed.’
Eventually, in desperation, the couple decided to visit Dr Christian Jessen on Embarrassing Bodies to see if there was any hope.
Mr Moger was referred to dental surgeon Andrew Dawood, at Dawood and Tanner Dental Practice in London.
Mr Dawood used digital scanning technology to scan Mr Moger’s face.
He then used digital software to create a model of the unaffected side of his face.
From this model, he was able to use 3D printing technology to create a mirror image of the undamaged side of the face.
The new 3D printer then built a nylon mould of his face layer by layer – and this was then used to create a silicon prosthesis.
Mr Moger now wears the facial prosthesis and a mouth implant which is used to separate the mouth from the hole in his face.
This creates a seal which means he can eat and drink again.
The prosthesis is supported by titanium scaffolding that is held in place by screws in his eyebrow and in his other cheek bone, Mr Dawood told MailOnline.
Magnets help secure the silicon mask in place and make it easy to remove at night.
Since having the prosthesis fitted, Mr Moger has eaten his first meal in five years – Weetabix and hot milk.
He said: ‘I have lost my sense of smell, but I could still taste some of it. And I no longer have to hold my mouth to talk any more. It’s transformed my life.
‘It is a great feeling to look in the mirror and see a whole face again. I am amazed at what they have done – it just looks so like me. I also have something to look forward to, as Karen and I are planning to finally get married this summer.’
‘Hopefully he can now go out with his friends to the pub; it will give him a real confidence boost.’
She added: ‘His appearance before didn’t bother me. Who I fell in love with is in here, this bit is just the outside. He hasn’t changed on the inside.
‘Eri is now completely cured of the cancer so you have to take some things to gain others.
‘It is so good to see him happy again and what it has done for his confidence.
‘People did stare at him before but I think the main problem was he felt so low, he didn’t want to get out of bed. Now, he is out in the garden and is happy to go out to the shops.’
She added: ‘It’s not been easy. I have down days but family support helps me and my granddaughter Amelia brightens up my days.
‘She is great with Eric, she is only three and never frightened of him, it’s remarkable.’
The next stage of Mr Moger’s treatment will see him return to Mr Dawood’s clinic where he will have teeth fitted to his implant.
He will even receive a prosthesis in a darker tone for summer, when his skin tans.
Ms Hunger added: ‘We want to tell our story and show others that life isn’t all doom and gloom and that there are ways of curing these things; there is a light at the end of the tunnel.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail
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