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A Chinese toddler diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition that left her head three times larger than its normal size, reportedly is the first child in the world to receive a 3D-printed skull implant.

Norbert Sparrow

July 23, 2015

1 Min Read
How 3D printing is changing the world in five slides: Skull implant

A Chinese toddler diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a condition that left her head three times larger than its normal size, reportedly is the first child in the world to receive a 3D-printed skull implant.

The skull of 3-year-old Han Han had filled with cerebrospinal fluids, and this was causing a number of medical problems including poor blood supply, severe pressure in the head and ulcers. The conventional treatment for hydrocephalus is surgical insertion of a shunt, a flexible but sturdy plastic tube that redirects the flow of fluids to other parts of the body, where it can be absorbed as part of the normal circulatory process, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes.

The medical team at the Hunan Province Brain Hospital chose, instead, to perform what they called, translated from the Chinese, "whole brain shrinking plastic surgery.” It involved the removal of Han Han’s scalp, a full 3D reconstruction and 3D printing of a new titanium skull, repositioning of her brain and removal of the excess cerebrospinal fluid, reports 3DPrint.com.

The team 3D-printed three titanium mesh skull implants and implanted them in Han Han’s head during a 17-hour surgical procedure. The patient is expected to make a full recovery.

To view the next slide, click on the arrow under the image.

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About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

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