We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Surgeons are using 3D printers to reshape this girl's face

Violet Pietrok was born with a rare genetic condition.

Boston Children's Hospital / YouTube

A TWO YEAR old American girl has had her face rebuilt by surgeon using revolutionary 3D printing techniques.

Violet Pietrok was born as a twin, but was born with a rare condition called Tessier facial cleft. As a foetus, the bones in Violet’s face never fused, leaving her with a gap in her face and no cartilage in her nose.

Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital managed to reshape her face using a replica of her skull printed from an MRI. The models allowed the surgical team test how they were going to rebuild Violet’s skull without interfering with brain or nerve function.

In the past, doing so would have been hugely expensive, but these four models cost just €1,000.

Dr John Meara, one of Violet’s surgical team, says in a video for the hospital that the models were invaluable.

“This gives me the ability to see on this model better than I will in the operating room.”

The surgical journey is detailed in a series of videos on the hospital’s website, with Violet’s mother Alicia Taylor telling ABC News that her daughter is back to herself after the surgery.

“She’s fantastic. She’s so happy all the time. If she’s not smiling, she’s generally asleep or throwing a fit.”

Violet has a long road of surgeries ahead of her, but her mother says that she is “blessed” to have received the help and support she has so far.

Boston Children's Hospital / YouTube

Read: 3D printed guns are useless says a firearms expert

Read: Amazon opens up 3D printing store for creating personalised items

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.