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The future has arrived

The world's first 3D-printed skull implant surgery is a success

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It looks like 3D printing is taking over the world, little by little. Uses for it range from creating a doll clone of yourself to printing meat (yes, for actual consumption). But the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands has found yet another way to implement the new technique: Doctors are reporting that the world's first 3D skull implant was a success.

The 23-hour surgery was performed on a 22-year-old woman who suffered from severe headaches, loss of vision, and loss of motor coordination due to a thickening of her skull. Dr. Bon Verweij, the neurosurgeon on the case, said in a press release that it was only a matter of time before other essential brain functions would have atrophied.

The surgery took place three months ago, but due to the patient's recovery time, doctors are only just now calling it a success.

"The patient has fully regained her vision, she has no more complaints, she's gone back to work and there are almost no traces that she had any surgery at all," Verweij said.

3D printing technology has served as a major advancement in these types of surgeries. "We used to create an implant by hand in the operating theater using a kind of cement, but those implants did not have a very good fit," Verweij said. "Now we can use 3D printing to ensure that these components are an exact fit. This has major advantages, not only cosmetically but also because patients often have better brain function compared with the old method."