Feb 4, 2016 | By Kira
3D Zings, a 3D printing company based in Malaga, Spain, has created a custom-made and quite unique 3D printed ‘skull protector’ prosthetic for a young man who lost part of the front of his cranium as the result of a tumor removal surgery. Designed to temporarily protect the patient's head while he waits for a permanent cranial implant to be prepared, the innovative 3D printed skull prosthetic turned out to be a remarkably simple yet effective medical device that could potentially save the patient from devastating medical complications.
The patient, Alberto, was told by the hospital where he had his initial surgery that it could take up to five months before he would receive a permanent cranial implant that would protect his now vulnerable brain. During that time, he would have to be extremely careful not to injure or hit his head in any way—a prospect that, understandably, left him quite uneasy. Though the hospital did offer a generic and uncomfortable sort of ‘head cover’ that he could wear, Alberto was unsatisfied with it and sought a more personalized solution.
That’s when he turned to local 3D printing company 3D Zings, which offers expertise in digital, mechanical and optical design, as well as a wide variety of additive manufacturing technologies (FDM, SLA, SLS) and high-quality 3D scanning. Though they had never been approached with such a request before, the 3D Zings team happily took up the challenge and the opportunity to help Alberto with his unique situation.
After a tumor removal surgery, a part of Alberto's cranium was removed, leaving him extremely vulnerable to brain damage
3D Zings began by 3D scanning Alberto’s head, which was converted into a precise 3D model. “Our 3D scanner permits resolutions of up to 15 microns, however in the case of 3D scanning a human head, such precision wasn’t necessary, and we were able to use the machine’s fastest scanning setting, so that in 15 minutes, we had all of the data that we needed,” said the company.
From that 3D scan, the company generated a custom-fitted cover to protect the affected area of his skull. “The most important thing was that the protector only make contact with the areas on his head where the bone is still perfectly secure,” said 3D Zings. “Additionally, we adapted the geometry of the prosthetic so that it followed the normal curvature [of his head].”
Once satisfied with the 3D model, it was time to 3D print. Taking into consideration that the 3D printed prosthetic, which would be used for only five months, had to be durable yet cost-efficient, 3D Zings opted to 3D print it using standard PLA material. “They wanted a robust yet economic prosthetic. In this case, FDM 3D printing technology gave us sufficient detail and strength, which is why we chose it to realize the design.”
Within four hours, the 3D printing process was complete, and all that was left to do was add a wide elastic band to hold it securely in place, strategically placed pads on the inner-side so that it could sit comfortably on his skin, and a coat of primer so that it could be painted afterwards. Alberto himself added the final touches with a custom, multi-color paint job.
The result is a custom-fit 3D printed skull prosthetic, that for the next five months, will provide Alberto with adequate protection while he awaits his actual implant. Though we’ve seen 3D printed face prosthetics, and even 3D printed cranium implants successfully executed in the past, this is the first 3D printed skull prosthetic we have yet to come across.
“It was a very special job and we are very happy to have made it and that we can share it,” said 3D Zings. “We hope you like the results and that we can help more patients in similar situations.” The company added that this type of 3D scanning and 3D printing technology can be applied to nearly any other part of the body, including the head, limbs, or torso, and could also be used to create immobilizing or protective devices for athletes or for workplace safety.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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kreshma wrote at 3/19/2016 12:16:31 AM:
Dad need face reconstruction due face nose cancer please help am looking for a 3d face printing for him please