A 22-year-old woman in the Netherlands just became the first person ever to be outfitted with a 3D-printed plastic skull, reports Dutch News. The woman had a medical condition that caused her skull to thicken. It had already become about two inches thick, compared to the usual .6 inch of a healthy person, and was putting pressure on her brain, Dutch News reports. The operation took 23 hours, but was a success.
Previously, skull replacements had to be made with a cement-like substance, the doctors told Dutch News, which (as you can probably imagine) was not ideal. Using a 3D-printed plastic version allowed the team to create an implant that perfectly fit the patient. As ExtremeTech points out, 3D-printed materials have been used in a number of surgical and medical procedures, including an implant that replaced about 75 percent of a patient's skull last year. But this is the first time the entire skull has been swapped out.
Here, you can see highlights of the procedure (in Dutch, and not for the faint-hearted):