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Suffering from a chronic bone disorder, one Dutch woman had her skull replaced by a 3D printed version. Amazingly, she’s now back at work.
The concept of 3D printing has been thoroughly planted in our heads, be it NASA’s plan to print spaceship parts in space, or Tieta the Toucan’s nifty replacement beak. However, a Dutch woman has pushed it further, as she’s the lucky recipient of a skull fresh out of a 3D printer.
The operation represents the first time a 3D printed cranium was not rejected by the host. The woman in question suffers from a chronic bone disorder, one that has increased the thickness of her skull, causing severe headaches and reduced eyesight. Dr Bon Verweij steered the 23-hour surgery, stating that “it was only a matter of time before critical brain functions were compromised and she would die,” Bon said. While surgery had to happen, outside of the fashioning her a new skull, there was no effective treatment.
Post-op, the patient has regained her sight and is now back at work, entirely symptom-free. What is not known, however, is how long her new dome will last, or whether it will require replacement.
The doctors hope that this technique will be used to repair severely damaged skulls, be it through injury or tumour. In the words of Dr Verweij, “It is almost impossible to see that she’s ever had surgery,” which leaves us exclusively out of excuses.