Defense: Marine receives DOD’s first jaw reconstruction using 3D-printed teeth

A Marine assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 7 at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California, received the Defense Department’s first immediate jaw reconstruction surgery using 3D-printed teeth at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

Washington, July 09, 2021.- On Nov. 18, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaden Murry, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California, had nearly all of his lower jaw removed because of a tumor. It was reconstructed with a segment from his fibula, a bone in the lower leg.

«I wasn’t too nervous,» Murry said. «Even though I hadn’t been in a hospital since I was three, I knew I was in good hands. I had to put all of my faith and hopes in the hands of strangers. I had to trust them all.»

Navy Lt. Justin Odette, one of the medical center’s oral and maxillofacial surgery chief residents, and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Hammer, a maxillofacial surgical oncologist and reconstructive surgeon, were members of the multi-department team of surgical specialists who performed the procedure on Murry.

«All of the providers worked as a team to keep his recovery on track,» Hammer said. «We were able to safely remove his tracheostomy tube within a week of the surgery, and it was then we knew he was making strides in the right direction.»

The tube is placed in a hole in the patient’s neck to use for breathing when there’s concern about the patient’s airway in the post-operative period.

Murry said the doctors kept his family informed throughout the planning and operation itself.

«My mother called Dr. Odette with questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask, and my grandfather assured me everything was going to be alright,» Murry said. «He calmed me down and put my mind at ease. Dr. Odette and Dr. Hammer have been very good at passing information to me and my family.»

As Murry continued to heal after the surgery, the doctors tested his healing process with his new lower jaw.

«To see him swallowing, speaking, walking and not using a tracheostomy tube one week post-surgery was a huge victory,» Hammer said.

«It was weird to hear my own voice,» Murry said. «I just made a sound and everyone there cheered. My grandfather made me try to say my ABCs.»

Murry will be on a soft food diet of chicken noodle soup, baked beans and ramen noodles while he recovers with the Wounded Warrior Battalion.

«I really look forward to getting back into a healthy mindset of working out, running and bodybuilding,» he said.

Murry will continue to have check-ups until his final prosthesis is installed, and then he’ll be able to resume life as normal and eat solid foods.

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