Man gets 3D-printed replacement for 75 percent of his skull


In a surgical procedure earlier this week, a man was fitted with the first ever 3D-printed skull replacement. A whole 75 percent of his skull was replaced with the replica, which is made out of polyetherketoneketone. (Say that ten times fast.)

It is unclear why this particular man had 75% of his skull replaced.

The company behind the implant, Oxford Performance Materials, first scanned the man’s skull to create a digital version. After that, the replacement plate was printed out with specially designed textures and holes to promote cell and bone growth. The technology was approved by the FDA last month, and the company says that they can create similar implants for other patients in 2 weeks — all they need is a 3D scan of the injured area. The company also says that around 500 people in the US can make use of the technology.

It’s pretty crazy how far technology has come. Now parts of the skeleton can be replaced! With a part that was printed out.

[via Oxford Performance Materials, Gizmodo]

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  • e1scd


    Why would you assume you’d need ANY medication to prevent an “allergic”/immunological reaction? It’s a plastic designed to conform to the missing piece of the skull — a fast improvement over the misshapen metal plates in current use (see Gabby Giffords). Know anyone with a knee or hip replacement? Do they take immunosuppressive medication?

  • hatman


    The material has specially-designed textures and holes in it to encourage the growth of cells and bone, and not result as a hindrance to the body, but rather become part of the skull just like ordinary bone. It’s more than just a simple piece of hard plastic. MORE AT LINK

  • Ashraf

    I can’t even fathom how it is possible to replace 75% of a person’s skull with a fake. =O

    [@Strahd] I’m not Dr but I’d image replacing a limb is a bit different than skull. I’m assuming this skull replacement was of the outside bone and not the insides of the skull (i.e. brain). For limb replacement you would need to have the technology for the insides otherwise you would have just a prosthetic which we already have.

  • Strahd

    “The company also says that around 500 people in the US can make use of the technology”

    I wonder if they had completely forgotten about those people who have lost a limb?

    I can se it now, like how certain professions require your finger printing, I would assume the real hazardous(possible limb loss) would require a skeletal scan.

  • Strahd

    I wonder how the persons body will react to this foreign part.

    I assume a boat loads of pills will be prescribed so no allergic reaction will occur.