China: Doctors use 3D printed part in skull surgery
Beijing : Doctors in China's Chongqing municipality have successfully replaced a section of a female cancer patient's forehead with a 3D-printed part.
The patient who is in her early 20s has had recurrent tumours for over 16 years, and has kept her hair long at the front to cover the growths, Xinhua news agency reported.
"I have had bangs for over a decade, finally I can grow my hair out and not be paranoid about my tumours," she explained.
When her tumours first began to show, around 16 years ago, the patient had them removed but they returned and grew back larger than before. Despite multiple operations over the years, the tumours kept returning.
The tumours were eventually identified as benign, but due to their location they put pressure against her right eye socket, meaning if they were not removed they would likely impair her vision and limit her motor skills. Doctors agreed that a complete excision was the only suitable procedure.
Moreover, due to the location of her tumours the operation would disfigure her face and the damage would be almost impossible to repair by traditional plastic surgery.
After discussion, a 3D-printed bone replica procedure was agreed as the best operation.
She underwent a high-precision CT scan so that doctors could create a 3D reconstruction of her skull and print a 1:1 replica of the bone part, with a precision of 20 microns.
The replica piece was then implanted and fixed in place with titanium screws. The operation, which was conducted earlier this month, was a success and she was discharged from hospital a week after going under the knife.