Almost one year ago we reported about the first full-face transplant using 3D-printed bones in Belgium. Now the first 3D-printed skull has been implanted on a 22 years old Dutch women, affected by a rare bone disease.
The skull of the patient never stopped growing, so the surgeons at the University Medical Center in Utrecht, led by neurologist Dr. Bon Verweij, replaced her skull bone with a 3D-printed implant mede out of PEEK (polyetherketoneketone). It's a thermoplastic, extremely strong and temperature resistant. And it's almost transparent.
“Implants used to be made by hand in the operating theatre using a sort of cement which was far from ideal. Using 3D printing we can make one to the exact size. This not only has great cosmetic advantages, but patients’ brain function often recovers better than using the old method” said Dr. Verweij to the Dutch News.
The operation was done 3 months ago and the symptom-free woman is now starting to work again. There was a similar surgery in 2013: an American man got 75 percent of his skull replaced with a 3D-printed implant.