Skull Implants Printed in 3-D

Custom body parts, coming up!

OutsideOnline News 3D Printing

By mapping Power's skull, surgeons were able to print the perfect implant.     Photo: Bunyos/Thinkstock

After a 2012 motorcycle accident in Wales, Cardiff's Stephen Power has undergone countless reconstructive surgeries to repair his body. In one of his most recent operations, surgeons were able to create custom skull implants using a 3-D printer.

Through complex scanning of the unaffected side of Power’s face, Swansea-based surgeons produced a 3-D model of his skull. With that information, the team was able use medical-grade plates and a special bone saw to print the perfect three-dimensional implant.

Photo: Power's impant models from ABMU Health Board's Twitter.

The surgical team completed a successful reconstruction during an eight-hour operation that restored Power’s face and confidence. "I think it's incomparable—the results are in a different league from anything we've done before," maxillofacial surgeon Adrian Sugar told BBC News.

Power’s skull implants point toward an era where surgeons can quite simply create a new bone or body part for you. The process remains incredibly elaborate but will likely become streamlined as the technology advances.

Power’s operation is now featured in an exhibition called 3D: Printing the Future at the Science Museum in London.

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