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Medicine Technology

3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted In Woman 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-head dept.
First time accepted submitter djhaskin987 (2147470) writes "The first successful implantation of a 3-D printed skull has taken place in the Netherlands, according to NBC news: 'Doctors in the Netherlands report that they have for the first time successfully replaced most of a human's skull with a 3-D printed plastic one — and likely saved a woman's life in the process. The 23-hour surgery took place three months ago at University Medical Center Utrecht. The hospital announced details of the groundbreaking operation this week and said the patient, a 22-year-old woman, is doing just fine."
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3-D Printed Skull Successfully Implanted In Woman

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  • Sweet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Max Threshold (540114) on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:03AM (#46600405)
    Can I get a bulletproof one?
    • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:33AM (#46600475)

      It wouldn't help you much, the impact would still damage your brain even if the bullet did not penetrate.

      • Re:Sweet (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:44AM (#46600503)

        So penetrating brain injury is only slightly less severe than non penetrating. Do you have data for this?

        • Shock waves (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dbIII (701233) on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:43AM (#46600683)
          It's why helmets for cyclists and motorbike riders are not just made of a hard steel shell. Shock waves from fast impacts can pass through a hard material and transmit through something softer, and if they are carrying a lot of energy they can really mess up the softer material.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            and if they are carrying a lot of energy they can really mess up the softer material.

            That is the thing, isn't it. Bullets aren't really carrying that much energy. If distributing it over a larger surface didn't help then the shooter would die from the recoil.
            If you can distribute it over your entire head you might change an instantaneous death to a concussion.

            • by dbIII (701233)
              The point of impact on a hard surface is very small. From there the primary shock wave would be very energetic.

              If you can distribute it over your entire head you might change an instantaneous death to a concussion.

              Hence the soft material in the helmets. It spreads the shock wave and absorbs a lot of energy by deforming so that the wearers brain does not need to deform.

            • Re:Shock waves (Score:5, Informative)

              by Wootery (1087023) on Friday March 28, 2014 @06:07AM (#46600911)

              Wrong. In discharging a gun, the bullet is given much more [yahoo.com] kinetic energy [wikipedia.org] than the gun, due to the disparity in masses. This follows from conservation of momentum, and the definition of kinetic energy.

              This is why an armoured soldier can still be injured through his body armour, despite the armour stopping the bullet, whereas the shooter's shoulder is just fine.

              • by Agent0013 (828350)
                But the soldier and his body armor have even more mass than the gun. So I don't really see that your description makes sense. Does the fact that the bullet is accelerated over the length of the barrel make a difference. Upon firing, the bullet is accelerated over 6 inches or so (even longer for a rifle), while on hitting the armor it is stopped in a very short distance.
                • by Wootery (1087023)

                  Upon firing, the bullet is accelerated over 6 inches or so (even longer for a rifle), while on hitting the armor it is stopped in a very short distance.

                  True, but as I understand it that's not really the significant factor here: the disparity in kinetic energy means the duration of the launch doesn't even really matter. Even wearing very thick armour with lots of area, you're still up against far more energy than the shooter.

                  It's a good point though.

                  • by Agent0013 (828350)
                    Actually, after posting I had another thought that sounds even more likely to be an important factor. The force of the firing of the bullet in distributed over the handle of a pistol or the butt of the gun, while the force of impact is over the point of the bullet. I bet if you were to taper the butt of the rifle down to the same size as the bullet, it would be pretty damaging to the shooter as well.
                    • by Wootery (1087023)

                      It wouldn't be good for you, sure, but, comparable to a gunshot wound? Absolutely not, no.

                      If you get shot, the bullet hits you at two or three thousand feet-per-second. The fact that the bullet penetrates your tissues is not in itself the really nasty part. The hydrostatic shock, and possible expansion/fragmentation of the round, will do the real damage.

                      A gunshot wound to the chest can kill you by means of brain-damage. It is not the equivalent of being stabbed with a bullet-sized knife - it's much, much wo

                    • by Agent0013 (828350)
                      Yeah, sorry. I see from your link that the kinetic energy is much higher due to the velocity squared. That would make a big difference. The pointy butted rifle would be stabbing you at a much slower and thus less energetic rate. I think I must have been looking at the force the bullet imparts on the target compared to the force imparted on the rifle through recoil and it seems it should be equal. (Bullet does not gain speed through the air, so velocity at target is equal or less than velocity at rifle. Shoo
                    • by Wootery (1087023)

                      That all sounds right to me. (I'm not a 'real physicist' or anything, mind.)

                  • You are up to the exact same energy as the shooter.
                    FFS read about the law of energy conservation or in this case as well: law of impulse conservation.

                    • by Wootery (1087023)

                      Again [slashdot.org], no, you are conflating momentum and kinetic energy.

                      (Do you really think I linked to two different sources explaining the physics of firearms, only to get it tragically wrong? It is painfully clear you haven't taken the time to read either of them.)

                • There is truth to both. KE = mv^2, whereas Momentum = mv. So, conservation of momentum and Newton's laws (equal and opposite force) means that the momentum of the rifle and momentum of the projectile are the same, but the energy of the bullet is much higher. Also, the longer distance you take to slow something down, the less force will be exerted. (F=ma, low acceleration means low force). So the rifle is heavy and long, which means the bullet gets far more energy and takes a proportionally long path to spee
                  • by dbIII (701233)

                    If you could slow the bullet down gradually (a Michelin man sort of body armor, perhaps) the force could be greatly reduced.

                    That's how it works in a bullet proof vest. Energy absorbing padding using a material made of a lot of loose fibres, lots of air, and no direct path for the shock wave to travel without expending a lot of energy compressing everything together. Whatever is left over delivers a bruise over a wide area instead of a small fatal impact.

                    • Yes, but the bruise is because the force is high since the projectile is slowed down very quickly. A thicker vest that allowed more penetration (without complete penetration, of course!) would be more forgiving for the wearer.
                  • The energy is not higher for the projectile, it is the same as for the rifle.
                    How one can bring up the correct formulas and draw so stupid conclusions is beyond me.

                    • The energy is not higher for the projectile, it is the same as for the rifle. How one can bring up the correct formulas and draw so stupid conclusions is beyond me.

                      The momentum is identical for projectile and rifle. The energy is not. Allow me to demonstrate.

                      Suppose a projectile of 15g, going at 500m/s, and a weapon of 500g. These are approximate figures to make life easy for us. Conservation of momentum means m1v1=m2v2, which means that the momentum of this projectile must equal the momentum of the pistol that launched it. .015kg*500m/s = 7.5 kg m/s = .5kg*15m/s. Got it? Now we know the velocity and mass of both objects in the system, we can easily calculate the e

                    • I realized that a few hours after I posted my answert o you, sorry, my appologizes.

                      However some guys claimed the bullet would transfer less than its energy to the target, which only can happen if it goes through it. But this is another issue ...

                      Strange that I forgot that, as I made more or less the same calculation a year ago when we talked about gravity pulling an asteroid with a probe. Seems I'm indeed getting old.

                      Sorry again.

                    • Understood. Mistakes happen to the best of us.
                • by operagost (62405)
                  The point of impact of the gun's stock is much larger than the bullet. A heavier gun has less kick than a lighter gun, but a stock with a larger surface area (contacting the shoulder) also has less kick.
              • by Type44Q (1233630)

                In discharging a gun, the bullet is given much more [yahoo.com] kinetic energy [wikipedia.org] than the gun, due to the disparity in masses.

                We can tell you're not a physics major...

                • by Wootery (1087023)

                  Nope. You'll find it is you who is in fact comically wide of the mark.

                  You're right, I'm not a physicist, but no, I'm not wrong about this. You're not the only one to say I'm wrong while ignoring my points and failing to read the articles I linked to [slashdot.org], though.

                  You too are presumably conflating momentum and kinetic-energy. Please go and read the articles I linked to.

              • Wrong, both get the same kinetic energy.
                (* facepalm *) this is one of the most fundamental laws of physics.
                Speed, oh, yes ... speed is different due to differences in mass.

                • by Wootery (1087023)

                  No. You are wrong. Go read the articles I linked to. They both get the same momentum.

                  When I put, this I meant it:

                  This follows from conservation of momentum, and the definition of kinetic energy.

            • by dbIII (701233)
              It's a pressure wave and pressure is force divided by area, so something small moving very fast gives you a lot of pressure in a line from the point of impact into the soft tissue underneath. Something really hard that behaves elasticly, like a thin steel plate, is just going to flex and pass a lot of energy on from where the back edge flexes.
          • Your brain matter has the same consistency as a bowl of fruit jelly, it barely supports its own weight and would certainly spatter if it fell from your head to the ground. A non-penetrating brain injury such as concussion is where your skull stops suddenly and the jelly inside of it squishes up on one side, it's the jelly's own kinetic energy that does the damage. If you want a car analogy it's the car drivers own kinetic energy that "throws" him through the windscreen when his car abruptly loses all of its
          • It's why helmets for cyclists and motorbike riders are not just made of a hard steel shell.

            Unless you get one of those stupid army-style helmets that are legal in places with shitty motorcycle safety regulations, or as I like to call them, a "Darwin Special."

            • by dbIII (701233)
              Same deal with the old plastic hard shell bicycle helmets of maybe twenty years back. I saw a bit of film of an impact test of one with a rockmelon (cantalope) inside. The helmet took the impact then flexed back into it's original shape without a scratch or crack, but there were bits of squashed melon leaking out everywhere. A polystyrene foam helmet ends up completely trashed in the same sort of test but with the melon inside intact.
          • by Dripdry (1062282)

            It's a lost word in our language, basically, but they call the rebound "contrecoup"

        • Common sense?

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        it would help quite a lot with smaller bullets. concussion is a lot less severe than scrambled eggs inside your head..

        • by JazzLad (935151)
          I would worry about what would happen in the case of a zombie apocalypse if these were ever common ... I say we ban them, just to be safe.



          For the humour-impaired: I'm kidding ... kinda
      • Re:Sweet (Score:5, Funny)

        by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday March 28, 2014 @08:40AM (#46601445)

        It wouldn't help you much, the impact would still damage your brain even if the bullet did not penetrate.

        True, but he could still get a job as a PHP developer.

  • with eSATA, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, HDMI, DVI, RJ45, RJ11 and Thunderbolt ports ? With a 40-year upgrade plan for future interface types ?
    • Re:Can I get one (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:18AM (#46600441)

      with eSATA, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, HDMI, DVI, RJ45, RJ11 and Thunderbolt ports ? With a 40-year upgrade plan for future interface types ?

      Terrible choice of ports.

      eSATA is useless when we have USB 3.0. Even if you wanted eSata for some reason, you should have gotten eSATAp
      USB 3.0 is a good choice, but you may as well have listed USB 3.1.
      FireWire? Is this 1996?
      HDMI? Displayport, please.
      DVI? HDMI carries DVI. Again, Displayport, please.
      RJ45 is a jack, not an interface or standard. 10 Gbps or 40 Gbps Ethernet would be a good choice.
      RJ11 is a jack, not an interface or standard. Your Ethernet cable can carry PoTS or VoIP for you.
      Thunderbolt (AKA External PCIe + marketing) is a terrible choice because anyone can just jack in and DMA attack your brain.

      • by pitchpipe (708843)

        with eSATA, USB 3.0, FireWire 800, HDMI, DVI, RJ45, RJ11 and Thunderbolt ports ? With a 40-year upgrade plan for future interface types ?

        FireWire? Is this 1996?

        Firewire is so dead, here's [theguardian.com] an article talking about how Steve Jobs said Firewire is dead.

      • I actually use an eSATAp SSD hard drive frequently. I have an OS installed on it and used it to work and bring it to home when I need to do home office, avoiding having to bring the whole laptop.

        I went with eSATAp because:
        1) My work and my home computers both have eSATAp ports
        2) My work computer does not have USB3.0
        3) No need for cases/enclosures to hold the circuitry necessary for USB hard drives (it is far more portable).
        4) Theoretical higher performance (and lower latency) compared to USB2.0

        I have not me

    • What, no analogue 1/4" TRS audio jacks? Weak.

    • by jdavidb (449077)
      What, no wireless?
  • Plastic Skull? (Score:2, Informative)

    Hope they didn't use that nasty Chinese plastic thats full of phthalates....
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Medical grade plastics are actually much safer for your health than any metals, so, go back to school before you hurt yourself by saying something retarded....

  • by tonywestonuk (261622) on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:25AM (#46600457)

    How cool is that!!! If that was me, I would make sure they didn't put the skin back on, and added a few blue flashing LED's for additional affect.

  • Adamantium (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jesrad (716567) on Friday March 28, 2014 @03:40AM (#46600491) Journal

    Do they make them in adamantium yet ?

  • by jcr (53032)

    Printing it is one thing, but I'm amazed that it's possible to install it.

    -jcr

    • Re:Fantastic. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday March 28, 2014 @04:23AM (#46600615)

      It's not as amazing as it sounds at first. As far as I can tell they didn't try to replace any of the facial skull area. Now THAT would be a feat and a half, considering just how many muscles and nerves are dependent on being on the "right" spot on the skull and being correctly attached, let alone all of our senses. This implant was only for the "brain" part of the skull, i.e. the upper/back half of it. Very important, after all that's what protects our brain, but far less complicated to handle from a medical point of view.

      It's actually less stunning from a medical point of view than from a purely technological one. Operations where the skull cover is removed to ease the pressure on the brain are not so uncommon. What's new now is "merely" that the replacement implant fits far better to the patient, instead of a "one size fits all" that gets shaped and fitted on the OP table, with varying and often limited success, the patient now gets a 100% fitting part.

      That IS a big advancement in medicine. But more for the technical side of medicine, less so for the actual surgical point of view.

      • by dbIII (701233)

        As far as I can tell they didn't try to replace any of the facial skull area

        Around 2000 or so a surgeon near me used a 3D printed plastic skull from scans to plan an operation that did replace a lot of a facial skull area with pieces taken from another part of the patient's heavily deformed skull. The plastic model is probably still on display in the government building where I saw it in 2002. While that example was re-implanting portions of the patient's bone in different places the surgery on the face m

  • The present is looking more and more like Ghost in the Shell. I love it.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    A short video of the surgery where you can see the implant.

    http://tweakers.net/video/8879/volledige-kunststof-3d-geprinte-schedel-geimplanteerd.html

  • How did this story make it on slashdot but the story bellow it:

    Russia Uses Ukraine's Dolphin Squad, But for What Porpoise?

    Not?

  • I'd have made damn sure they slipped a layer of tinfoil atop my brain before buttoning up.
  • Right, sure. If my skull had just been replaced, I a sure I would be doing just fine. This is right out of RoboCop...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article must be a mistake. The Netherlands has socializes medicine. This sort of innovation only happens in capitalistic healthcare systems.

    • Actually in the Netherlands a lot of hospitals are affiliated to universities. That assures they are interested and willing to invest in unique cases for research purposes. Capitalistic systems are only interested in return on investment.

      • by digsbo (1292334)

        Capitalistic systems are only interested in return on investment.

        I guess that explains the total lack of charitable hospitals in the USA. Oh wait...

  • So this girl's going to be without hair, correct?
    • They're going to give her brand-new, 3D-printed hairs.

    • No, her hair's still on her scalp which is on the outside of the skull.

    • I wondered about that too. In the video I watched it looked like they left her with the transparent skull exposed. I'm not sure if they went back later to put the hair on or not. If they did put skin on later I'm not sure if it would grow hair or not. Failing that, they do make some very nice and very well fitting wigs for cancer patients, so I imagine they'll fit her with one of them.

    • by Holi (250190)

      Your skull grows hair?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm always surprised when these stories get reported. As a neurosurgeon, this has been done in various forms for >50yrs. I remember as a resident pounding titanium plates on a roundish metal head anvil on the sterile back table, then cutting it to shape. 3-d milled titanium and PEEK implants became commercially available in 2002 - custom generated from the patient's own CT scan. 3-d printed implants have been available for a few years (?2010) and have the advantage of being able to fit more complex s

  • There. That's much better than a rib.

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