A 22-year-old's life was saved after neurosurgeons replaced a huge portion of her skull with an exact 3D printed copy of it.
The woman suffered a rare disease that made her skull thicken and placed increased pressure on her brain (her skull was already three times the thickness of a normal skull.) Dutch surgeons made a copy of the cranium and replaced it in a 23-hour surgery. "Implants used to be made by hand in the operating theatre using a sort of cement which was far from ideal," said Ben Verweij, one of the leaders of the operation. "Using 3D printing we can make one to the exact size. This not only has great cosmetic advantages, but patients' brain function often recovers better than using the old method."