Chinese Doctors Using 3D Printing Technology to Repair Human Skulls
(3Ders.org) Doctors in China have reported using 3D printing technology to repair a man’s damaged skull. The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University in China has successfully replaced part of a patent’s skull using 3D-printed material. The surgery occurred the end of last month, Dr. Wang Mao De, Chen Wei and their team began the process with a CT scan of the patient’s skull. Then the printer printed a matching piece of the skull’s missing part, layer by layer. Unlike existing implants made from materials like titanium, the plastic implants are light and non-corroding. The precise manufacturing technique can not only mimic a real skull, but also add detailing on the surface and edges of the implant to help existing bone attach to the implant more easily.
The implant is made from a type of thermoplastic called polyetherketoneketone (PEKK), which is biocompatible, mechanically similar to bone, and radiolucent so as not to interfere with X-Ray equipment.