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Man Has 75% of Skull Replaced By 3D-Printed Materials 74

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-wonder-if-they'll-do-customized-designs dept.
redletterdave writes "An un-named male patient in the U.S. has had 75 percent of his skull replaced with 3D printed materials. The undisclosed patient had his head imaged by a 3D scanner before South Windsor, Conn.-based Oxford Performance Materials (OPM) gained approval from US regulators to print the bone replacement. OPM's final skull replacement was built within two weeks, and inserted in the patient's skull in an operation performed earlier this week; this cutting-edge procedure was only just revealed on Friday. OPM's 3D-printed process was granted approval by the FDA back on Feb. 18, which means the company can now provide 3D printed replacements for bones damaged by trauma or even disease. The company says this technique could benefit more than 500 U.S. citizens each month, from injured factory or construction workers to wounded soldiers."
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Man Has 75% of Skull Replaced By 3D-Printed Materials

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  • by Troll-in-Training (1815480) on Friday March 08, 2013 @10:23PM (#43123327)

    Can someone knowledgeable (i.e. not speculating) or working in the medical device industry explain why we can't use some really hard material like a titanium alloy or Kevlar to make the skull bullet-proof, especially for those in combat?

    Transfer of Kinetic Energy. If you just used a hard bullet proof material the kinetic energy would pass straight through and liquefy the brain.

    To make a bullet proof skull you would have to use a hard outer shell, a collapsable inner filler to absorb the kinetic energy and a hard inner shell to prevent spalling from shredding the brain. With current materials science it would be ridiculously thick and heavy and cause more problems than it would solve unless you could reinforce the spine and neck muscles, and it would have to be replaced/rebuilt after every impact.

    Take a look at the size and thickness of current combat helmets to see what I mean, and remember that current helmets will not stop a high caliber round or an armor piercing one in a direct impact. They only protect against shrapnel, glancing blows from assault rifle rounds and some light pistol rounds under the right conditions. They have to be discarded after one serious protective use as they are designed to stop the damage by sacrificing their structural integrity (they only stop one hit in the same spot).

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