Dutch surgeons have successfully placed an entire 3D-printed skull dome over the brain of a 22-year-old woman suffering from a rare bone disorder. Doctors say this surgery is unprecedented.
As a result of her undisclosed condition, the patient’s skull had thickened to 5 centimeters, instead of the usual 1.5 centimeters – meaning the bone was pressing down on the brain tissue causing vision loss, agonizing headaches and cognitive impairment.
When doctors decided to remove the top hemisphere of the skull, they opted for a specially-made plastic shell, which was made on a 3D printer. The technology allows complex objects to be created to precise specifications by a computer-aided machine that places thin layers of material of varying width on top of each other.
“Implants used to be made by hand in the operating theater using a sort of cement which was far from ideal,” said surgeon Bon Verweij, in a statement from UMC Utrecht, where the procedure was performed. … (Read more)