Surgeons from Northwick Park Hospital near London, have used 3D technology to reconstruct a patient’s jaw using part of his leg bone. A 3D computer model was created so that surgeons could virtually plan incisions and cuts up to a precision of one millimeter. The blueprint was then used as a guide during the operation.

The patient — Albert Goodman, an 88-year-old former ambulance technician, had unknowingly suffered a fractured jaw after his bones were weakened as a result of cancer treatment. Initially, Goodman’s age had denied him a chance of an operation, until he insisted due to constant pain and inability to intake solid food.

Dr. Abdul Ahmed, the maxillofacial surgeon who headed the surgery, pre-planned the 12-hour procedure using a virtual model and performed virtual surgery from the scans. The virtual execution allows the surgical team to exercise a higher level of accuracy during the actual surgery and also saves time, making it less demanding for a patient of Goodman’s age.