A year ago, an anonymous man in the U.S. received what was then the world's largest 3D-printed skull implant. That record has just been broken. A 22-year-old Dutch woman has just received a transplant of her entire cranium in an operation that lasted an incredible 23 hours.
The woman in question needed the replacement because of a condition that saw her skull constantly growing thicker, compressing and damaging her brain. Thankfully, the operation to replace her cranium with a 3D-printed plate was a resounding success. After three months of recovery time, the Dutch woman is symptom free and has returned to work, her new skullcap firmly in place.
Previously, a full-cranial replacement would have been much riskier. Surgeons used to have to hand-mold skull replacements with a cement-like putty. Even for less comprehensive surgeries, patients often suffered brain damage during the procedure. With the success of a full-cranial transplant, this unnamed Dutch woman might hold the honor of having the most plastic around her brain for quite a while. Then again, 3D printing and medicine are proving a powerful combo for the doctors willing and able to use them in tandem.