Chinese docs use 3D printer to restore man's shattered skull

19 September 2014

In a groundbreaking operation, Chinese surgeons used a 3D printer technology to save a 46-year-old Chinese man who lost half his skull in an accident.The missing chunk was rebuilt with the help of a 3D printer; and the man can now speak again.

Before the surgery (left) and afterDoctors at the Xijing Hospital in Xi'an used a 3D printer to create a titanium mesh, weighing 9.9 grams, to replace the damaged part of the man's skull.

The man, surnamed Hu, underwent the three-and-a-half hour operation on 28 August.

After more than two weeks, Hu's head has now nearly returned to its original shape and the scars from the surgery are almost gone.

Guo Shuzhong, head of Xijing Hospital, said the skull operation has been very successful so far. Hu did not show any sign of infection or rejection of the implanted mesh, and his brain is well-protected now.

Hu was injured after he fell from the third floor of a building about ten months ago in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province.

Half of his skull was dented in and his eyesight was affected. He was able to walk and eat normally, but was unable to talk or write.

He is now able to speak some simple words. His language ability is expected to gradually improve, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Doctors plan to conduct a second operation to repair his damaged left eyelid. By lifting his damaged eyelid, his eye will be enlarged to a more normal size.

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