Remember when you were a kid and your mom was all over you to wear a helmet when you rode your bike, hopped on your skateboard, or ran out onto the football field? You were always like, “Dammit, mom, I don’t want to wear a helmet, that’s for squares,” or something along those lines. Thinking back as an adult, maybe even as a parent, you get it. She wasn’t just nagging you and trying to embarrass you in front of your friends, she was worried you’d do some irreparable damage to that precious little noggin of yours. But now science has an answer to this problem. If you break your skull, you can simply print out a replacement part.
Earlier this week, an anonymous American man recently had 75% of his skull replaced with a custom plate created by a 3D printer. He traded out three-fourths of the natural bone in his head for something that came out of a printer. That’s some seriously futuristic-sounding news. After having his dome scanned, and a digital replica made, the surrogate skull was printed out, easy as pie.
Connecticut-based Oxford Performance Materials crafted the polyetherketoneketone (that sounds like a made up word) piece. Specially calculated details, like textures and small holes, were carved into the surface of the molded plastic in order to promote cell and bone growth around the new addition.
OPM got approval to implement the procedure after receiving the nod from the Food and Drug Administration on February 18th. This groundbreaking procedure can be used to replace damaged bone.
Interestingly enough, March just so happens to be Brain Injury Awareness Month.