The UMC Utrecht has successfully replaced a complete skull in one of their patients. The operation is the first of its kind using a skull created by 3D printing technology.
The 23 hour operation was undertaken by specialist surgeon Bon Verweij on a 22 year old female patient. The skull is made of a new kind of endurable plastic.
The patient suffered from a condition in which the skull keeps getting thicker. The condition lead to severe and worsening headaches and disorientation in the patient. The operation was necessary to prevent more serious symptoms.
“The patient has her sight back entirely, is symptom-free and back to work. It is almost impossible to see that she’s ever had surgery,” said Verweij.Verweij had gained a lot of experience with constructing and printing skull bones before he began the operation. “Before, implants were done using parts made from a less effective kind of cement,” said Verweij.
“Now, these parts can be precisely created using 3D printing. This not only has very large cosmetic benefits, but patients often have a better brain function compared to the old method,” explained the surgeon.
Patients with similar conditions can now be effectively treated at the UMC Utrecht. The technique can also be used for patients with other bone disorders caused by accidents or tumors.