Skull implants may not be considered cutting-edge, but a man recently received one made to order by a 3D printer. Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) prints the inserts, which can replace up to an amazing 75 per cent of a patient’s skull. The Connecticut-based company forges replacement bone out of biomedical polymer, a thermoplastic that’s lighter than metal but with bone-like density and stiffness. And, unlike metal, the polymer doesn’t interfere with MRIs and X-rays.
It also fits better: currently, surgeons have to customise one-size-fits-all implants for each patient during surgery. But doctors can precisely tailor this implant to the patient by using computer-aided design files.
This video gives you a little more insight as to how the tailor-made skull implant was made…
Now that US federal government approval has been secured, the company can start developing 3D-printed implants for other body parts.
– Mary Beth Griggs