Treatment for the replacement of facial bones is being developed through the technology used to create high-performance aircraft components.
Researchers at Ohio University have been working with scientists from the University of Illinois.
The procedure is expected to be used to recreate the bones on faces of people who have had cancer surgery.
Alok Sutradhar, a postdoctoral researcher in plastic surgery at Ohio State and lead author of the paper describing the work, commented: "The difference between what is done now and our design is that we take into account all of the loads on the structure."
The development of the treatment has resulted from a combination of cosmetic surgery expertise and engineering skills.
These skills have resulted in the development of an experimental 3-D structure which can withstand the acts of chewing, while still facilitating speaking and swallowing.
Scientists eventually hope to use tissue engineering techniques to grow new bone around these structures in facial reconstruction surgeries.