SEOUL, April 6 (Korea Bizwire) – A Korean medical team has succeeded in transplanting a 3D printed skull, drawing the attention of the public.
New 3D printing technology has proven to be useful in many areas, and is now being used in the medical field.
Professors Kwon Jeong-tek and Lee Mu-yeol from the neurosurgery department at Chung-Ang University Hospital announced that they succeeded in transplanting a 3D printed skull in a 60-year-old female patient.
The patient went to the ER at Chung-Ang University Hospital after a sudden headache, but without exhibiting any other symptoms. After doctors did a CT scan of her brain, the woman was diagnosed with a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage.
The medical team first blocked the blood supply to parts of the brain to prevent additional bleeding, and cut off a part of the patient’s skull to lower brain pressure.
However, as the brain collapsed in the area where the skull was cut, the patient was in need of a skull transplant. The medical team conducted a skull transplant using a 3D printed skull custom-made for the patient, and the operation was successful.
The 3D printed skull was fabricated from pure titanium developed by the 3D printing technology center at the Gangwon branch of the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT).
Previously, titanium was only 60 percent as strong as an aluminum-vanadium alloy. However, the pure titanium developed by the KIIT resulted in a material that came within 95 percent of the strength of the aluminum-vanadium alloy.
Professor Kwon explained that other materials such as cement make artificial skulls heavy, and is difficult to form them into the precise shape of a patient’s skull.
However, the 3D printed skull made of pure titanium is much lighter than other options, and by using the patient’s video information, a skull that fits the patient perfectly could be developed.
Officials at the KIIT added that 3D printing technology allows for the development of precise shapes at a low cost in a short amount of time.
By Kevin Lee (email@example.com)