It was just under three months now that surgeons in Holland embedded a plastic, transparent skull inside the head of a woman whose own skull had never stopped growing. Unbelievably, the erratic bone disease that was shattering her vision and putting an end to her way of life has now been treated by a simple 3D printer.
The neurosurgeon team, which was headed by Dr. Bon Verweij at the Medical University Center in Utrecht, Holland believes that the female’s brand new skull will last for an indefinite period, opening up new treatments for cranial medical renovations.
The forerunner to this astonishing accomplishment was a comparable covering done in 2013, where 75 percent of a patient’s skull was substituted with a 3D produced implantation that was made of polyetherketoneketone or PEKK for short. It is considered a thermoplastic. Although cost and the man hours that would be necessary to build a skull would be prohibitive, by printing it to precise measurements allowed it to be produced. PEKK and its family of interrelated plastics are particularly strong and resistant to temperatures.
The see-through skull was created by an Australian firm and many plastics are transparent such as polycarbonates and acrylics. However the demanding medical requirements, and also the printing necessities put severe limits on the plastics. Nevertheless, the transparency is essential, because physicians must be able to see what is going on with the underlying brain and vascular system. Surgeons must be able to receive feedback in order to see how things are going macroscopically. This type of operation also lures because of the possibility to optically image movements in the brain like never has been done before.
The young female, age 22, who had the surgery performed on her, probably did not have such incredible things in mind when she endured such an operation, and is most likely just glad to finally have a normal skull now. Her ailment had caused her old skull to overgrow from a regular width of just over one centimeter to a mind bending five centimeters. That is equal to two inches in thickness.
Even though the new skull seems to be long-lasting, the complete details of the attachment and assimilation layer have not been totally released to the public yet. The two parts seem to be connected with typical titanium fixtures which can be found in a regular internal fixation kit. These equipment kits are basic erector sets from which surgeons are able to pick the proper pieces, and then bend and shape them to fit broken bones.
The possibility to further modify such printings is vast. There are basic features which can capture and match the two parts against sliding motions might be of instantaneous benefit. This operation happened just under three months now. Surgeons in Holland were able to embed the plastic, transparent skull inside the head of a woman whose own skull had failed to quit growing. Unbelievably, the erratic bone disease that was shattering her vision and putting an end to her way of life was now being treated by a simple 3D printer and it ended up saving her life.
By Kimberly Ruble