Dutch surgeons perform 3D Printed Skull Transplant - Sculpteo Blog

Dutch surgeons perform first 3D Printed Skull Transplant

Posted By on Apr 1, 2014 |

3D printing can solve a great deal of issues, but this one is huge. In Utrecht, Doctors from the University Medical Center, have realized the very first full skull transplant with the use of a 3D printer. The 22 year old woman is now living with a 3D printed implant as skull replacement.

As the doctors explained, the performed operation was the only way to save the young woman from a rare disease. By keeping on growing extra bone tissue, the inside of her natural skull was compressing her brain.


Many newspapers and websites accross the globe are reporting this amazing use of 3D Printing as an amazing example of 3D printing medical use. First because, the precision allowed by the 3D printer permitted to adjust the implant to a few micrometers and so to lower the risks of unwanted effects such as pains, headaches, etc. Second, because this was all done with a great level of simplicity. The handling of the 3D modelling and of the 3D printing was done by the Australian company Anatomics. They collected datas from a CT scan and substracted the thickness of the bone that grew where it shouldn’t.


This time the Dutch doctors “simply” replaced the entire skull and they were able to do it without any complications because the new skull had been 3D printed in a biocompatible plastic material to perfectly fit the patient’s anatomy., the Australian company that handled the 3D modelling and 3D printing only had to adjust the CT scan data to remove the added skull growth form the patient’s natural bone.

“Now, these parts can be precisely created using highly precise, customized 3D printing technologies. This not only offers enormous benefits from a purely cosmetic point of view, but patients often have a better brain function seen compared to the old method,” said Doctor Bon Verwij, who led the equipe at UMC Utrecht.

For the bravests, here is a short video showing the procedure:

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