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Skin Cancer Sufferer's Life Changed After 'Missing Piece' Of Her Face Replaced With Prosphetic

Skin Cancer Sufferer's Life Changed After 'Missing Piece' Of Her Face Replaced With Prosphetic

A mum who lost her right eye and was left with a hole in her face after battling skin cancer has had her face reconstructed with a prosthetic created using a camera phone and 3D printer.

Prior to the procedure, Denise Vicentin, from Brazil, was terrified of going out in public, for fear of what people would think, and says the mere sight of her own reflection in the mirror caused her to burst into tears.

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However, after undergoing the groundbreaking operation, the 52-year-old now says she is 'so happy' with how she looks and is able to live her life again.

In 2010, Mrs Vicentin lost part of her jaw and her right eye while fighting cancer, causing her to struggle to eat and speak.

In the past, she has been offered the chance to have prosthetics made. However, as it costed £384,000 ($504,000), she has always refused as she couldn't afford it.

The procedure took 12 hours. Credit: Getty
The procedure took 12 hours. Credit: Getty

But thanks to specialists at Paulista University in Sao Paulo who developed a pioneering technique - half the price of traditional methods - for creating the prosthetic needed, Mrs Vicentin's life was changed.

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In order to carry out the operation, doctors took 15 photographs of the patient's face from a number of angles, these were then used to create a digital 3D model.

The prosthetic is was built using a 3D printer, and acted as a blueprint for the final version made from silicone, resin and synthetic fibers. It was then painted so that it matched Mrs Vicentin's eye colour as accurately as possible.

Overall, the life-changing operation took 12 hours to complete which, according to reports, is about half the time other methods usually take.

Mrs Vicentin will now undergo reconstructive surgery on her jaw and upper lip. Credit: Getty
Mrs Vicentin will now undergo reconstructive surgery on her jaw and upper lip. Credit: Getty

In the year leading up to the prosphetic being fitted, Mrs Vicentin underwent a series of operations, including having titanium hooks fitted to keep the prosthetic in position.

And while she will still have to undergo a number of reconstructive surgeries on her jaw and upper lip, Mrs Vicentin said she feels as though doctors have given her the 'missing piece'.

She said: "[Before] when I was on the metro or train, I tried not to pay attention to the stares. At places like the bowling alley, I felt them looking, and the person would even leave when they saw me.

"It was a long time looking at a face which was missing a piece, so I am so happy. I only took it off to clean it - I even slept with it."

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Science, World News, News, Interesting, Technology, Brazil

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]