A team from the University Medical Centre, Utrecht, have made medical history by successfully replacing a woman's entire skull with a plastic one made by a 3D printer.
The 22-year old woman was suffering from a condition where her skull started thickening, and had reached nearly 3 times the thickness of a normal human skull. The team decided to use a plastic skull because conventional methods are often less than perfect. Neurologist Ben Verweij who led the team said that the woman is recovering well from the procedure which took place 3 months ago, and is not suffering any symptoms. "Using 3D printing we can make one that's the exact size. This not only has great cosmetic advantages, but patients' brain function often recovers better than using the old method" he added.
This technique can be used in patients who have problems with other bones and to repair skull damage. Although parts of skulls have been replaced using 3D printing before, never has this been done with an entire skull. It's very exciting news.
If you would like to see what happened, check out this YouTube video from the hospital. Unfortunately it is in Dutch, not English, but there are translations in the comment section.