The UMC Utrecht hospital has recently implanted a 3D printed skull (pic) made of plastic into a 22-year-old woman, a world’s first according to the hospital that claims it is a revolutionary procedure that has never been done before.
The hospital says that the patient suffers from a rare affliction where the skull bone steadily thickens, placing too much pressure on the brain. The woman’s surgeon, Bon Verweij, says she has been losing the ability to make facial expressions, and that it was only a matter of time before she would lose other crucial brain functions and eventually pass away.
UMC Utrecht has performed several operations replacing sections of skull bone, but this is the first time they attempted an entire cranium. The hospital waited a few months before announcing the operation, making sure it was successful first. “The patient has regained her capacity for facial expression, is free of complaints, is back to work and it is nearly impossible to see she was ever operated on”, Verweij says.
The UMC Utrecht thinks this technique of 3D printing can also be used for patients with different bone abnormalities, repairing skulls after accidents, or with tumors.
A year ago Leiden University was developing the 3D printing of skin for medical purposes.
News item in Dutch, but the visuals tell the story: