Stephen Power survived a motorbike crash in 2012, but his face was left shattered. "I broke both cheek bones, top jaw, my nose, and fractured my skull," he says. Now, the 29-year-old has made medical history by becoming one of the first patients—possibly the first ever—to have 3D printing used at every step of the journey to rebuild his face, Time reports. Doctors in Wales used scanned 3D images of Powers' face to create a 3D model of his skull, as well as plates and implants used in the surgery, the BBC reports.
Last month's eight-hour surgery was the culmination of months of doctors' planning to restore symmetry to his face. Using 3D printing in such a way "allows us to be much more precise," says one of the surgeons, according to AFP. "Without this advanced technology, it's freehand. You have to guess where everything goes. ... The results are in a different league from anything we've done before." Power, who used to wear a hat and glasses to hide his face when he went out, calls the surgery "life-changing" and says his face is much closer to the shape it was before his accident. (Read more reconstructive surgery stories.)