Technology is advancing so fast these days that, in the blink of an eye a thousand breakthroughs occur and no one around the world even notices. Yet the far reaching consequences of these breakthroughs are felt in our everyday lives perhaps decades from when they were first conceived. 3D printing was first practically realized in the 1980s and today it is helping save lives.
On March 28th 2014, NBC News reported that a team of doctors in the Netherlands had succeeded in replacing a woman’s entire cranium with a plastic one, printed out of a 3D printer. The surgery had to be carried out meticulously of course and the tedious process is said to have lasted 23 hours. This occurred 3 months before the announcement but was kept under wraps, perhaps to wait and see whether the surgery had been successful or not. The doctors now report that the 22 year old woman in question was completely fine and living a healthy lifestyle.
The surgery was not the first of its kind to be reported, but it was the largest in its scale. In early March 2014, a man in the U.S. was reported to be receiving a cranial implant that replaced 75% of his skull with a polymer compound.
Previously the prospect of a cranial transplant would render the surgeons and doctors in question paralyzed with fear as brain damage and excruciating pain lay in store for many patients who did go through with the operation. Now with an operation of considerable magnitude has been successfully carried out, the hospitals and medical centers around the globe might begin to consider this process as viable.