3 months ago, doctors in the Netherlands used 3D printing to replace a woman’s skull. Not the whole skull, just the part around the brain. The unnamed woman had a rare condition that caused her skull to thicken. It had grown thick enough to press on the brain causing loss of vision and harming motor functions. She would have died without this operation.
Doctors have done similar transplants using a material like cement, but it doesn’t fit well. This is the first time a 3D printed prosthetic has been used to replace part of the skull (sorry, second time). After 3 months, the woman’s vision is back, and she’s back to her job. You can hardly tell that she has had the operation. The new skull prosthetic is transparent, but is covered by the woman’s scalp, so she looks normal.
3D printing is becoming more and more useful in medicine. From bone replacement, to custom built guides to help make operations more effective, this technology is helping more and more doctors. Just a couple of years ago these things would have been impossible. We’re living in the future.