We predicted that 3D printing was capable of executing miracles and that it would soon become the talk of the day. Recently, a woman received world’s first 3D Printed implant for her skull.
So why did she need the implant in first place? 3 months ago, a 22 year old Dutch woman was brought to UMC Utrecht hospital with a rare disease. The disease thickens the patient’s skull and adds pressure to the brain. The woman in question was losing her eyesight when she was brought to the hospital and was unable to control her face. Bon Verweij is a surgeon at UMC Utrecht and according to him, when the patient was brought to hospital; her skull was 5 cm thick which was basically 3.5 cm thicker than the average human. Owing to her condition, immediate operation was critical.
The process started with scanning of patient’s head and production of her skull’s 3D model. Using this model, Verweij and his team was able to design and then print a cranial implant (half dome) by using biocompatible plastics. The last phase was the most complicated one and it lasted for 23 hours during which the UMC Utrecht team carried out the removal of upper half of patient’s skull and replaced it with the custom built prosthesis.
Surgeon Verweij said; ‘With 3D printing we can customize implants to their exact size. It has great cosmetic and medicinal benefits. Patients’ brain function often recovers better than the traditional methods.’ As time passed, it was confirmed that Dr. Verweij was indeed right about the capabilities of 3D printed implants. When asked about the patient by Verweij he said; ‘The woman has her eyesight back. She is back to work and it is nearly impossible to see she was ever operated on.’
In a nutshell, we surely are indebted to the advancement in science and technology for all the medical breakthroughs that we are witnessing today. Good job Science and three cheers for 3D printing. Check out the youtube video below for more: