A man has had the first ever 3D-printed skull-replacement fitted, swapping out a whole 75 per cent of the bone in his head for a man-made replacement.
The unnamed man, from the US, first had his skull scanned to create a digital replica, before the large replacement plate was printed out. It has specially designed textures and holes in the polyetherketoneketone structure to encourage the growth of cells and bone, and the technique could prove invaluable in replacement of other bone-damaged bits.
According to the makers, Oxford Performance Materials, the 3D-printed implant can replace the bone in people’s skulls damaged by disease or trauma.
This technology will virtually impact the entirety of orthopedics.
“We see no part of the orthopedic industry being untouched by this,” said Scott DeFelice, president of Oxford Performance Materials.
DeFelice’s company is already selling 3D-printed implants overseas as a contract manufacturer.
The precise manufacturing technique can even make tiny surface or edge details on the replacement part that encourage the growth of cells and allow bone to attach more easily.