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China Medicine Build

Chinese Girl Receives Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing 99

ErnieKey writes: Doctors in China have just successfully performed a groundbreaking surgery on a 3-year-old little girl named Han Han. Han Han was suffering from congenital hydrocephalus which caused her head to grow to four times the normal size. If something wasn't done, she probably wouldn't have lived much longer. This is when surgeons at the Second People's Hospital of Hunan Province elected to remove a large portion of her skull and replace it with a 3d printed titanium mesh skull. The results were truly amazing, and Han Han is expected to make a full recovery.
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Chinese Girl Receives Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing

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  • Okay, so, first off.. Slashdot was broken all day, without explanation. My power went out at 1:52 this morning, perhaps related, perhaps not.

    Second, they replaced her entire skull with a "3d printed titanium mesh skull", and she is "expected to make a full recovery"? What happens when this 3-year-old girl starts to grow?

    As she continues to grow, the titanium implants will become surrounded by her own bone, which will lead to the strengthening of the top of her skull.

    Yeah, but are they going to stretch and grow with the bone? Nobody appears to ask or know.

    • The image shows the implant which appears to have gaps resembling skull sutures. It does look like this implant will permit growth of the cranium.

      • But if you look close, its shape is nothing like a normal cranium.

        My guess is that they did it as a last resort + PR move, without really doing the engineering "custom design" work that would have been done in places like, say, the U.S.

        You have to admit it's a pretty bizarre-looking skull. Huge monobrow, for example.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          PR move? A child is alive because of a medical first. Fuck your anti-chinese bias.

          • It wasn't "anti-chinese bias" you anti-Jane-biased person!

            I happen to know a little about how they operate. Too bad if that doesn't fit your perception, but that doesn't justify willy-nilly insulting people. Get stuffed.
        • by dave420 ( 699308 )

          Well, as your guess is worth absolutely nothing, thanks for sharing!

          In the US she would have been denied surgery by her insurance companies, so there is that.

          • Don't go there man. The parents had to raise the money, just like they would have had to do here.

            Not that I mean to imply that we are not oppressed by the insurance companies, of course we are.

            But the fact that something like this costs money is unrelated to that.

        • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

          But if you look close, its shape is nothing like a normal cranium.

          I was wondering about the odd shape too... but then i thought, she's pretty young and the implant will have to work when her head and brain grow to adult size too, so perhaps they stuck a balance between an adaptive 3 part structure and projected adult size. It's more important that here cranium is the right shape when she is older, you wouldn't exactly want multiple skull transplants, that would be like the old pacemakers but massively worse.

          • I was wondering about the odd shape too... but then i thought, she's pretty young and the implant will have to work when her head and brain grow to adult size too, so perhaps they stuck a balance between an adaptive 3 part structure and projected adult size. It's more important that here cranium is the right shape when she is older, you wouldn't exactly want multiple skull transplants, that would be like the old pacemakers but massively worse.

            I agree with what you say, but that wasn't the point.

            The seams mimicking cranial sutures are one thing. I have no problem with that. But there is no way that uni-brow has anything to do with normal brain size or shape, or integrating with normal facial features. They did that for reasons of their own.

            There have been near-complete upper skull replacements in the U.S. already (rendering this not so much of an accomplishment, merely incremental), but they were generated using PET scans and 3D-printing te

            • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

              ... But there is no way that uni-brow has anything to do with normal brain size or shape, or integrating with normal facial features. They did that for reasons of their own.

              I think i got my terminology wrong, I was actually talking about that frontal bone too... I think it's likely that the exaggerated brow is because it is the front bone size of an adult, doing the reverse would surely not work as the head grew to adult size.

        • My guess is that they did it as a last resort + PR move, without really doing the engineering "custom design" work that would have been done in places like, say, the U.S.

          Yeah, of course! There are hundreds of designers that can automagically conjur up a 3d titanium skull implant that will make the patient an adult model for eyebrow weaves, because publicity!

          Actually, fuck no; you're an idiot at best, and a misanthrope at worst. Did you perhaps think that maybe a bunch of people with relatively little experience in building fucking craniums did the best they could under the circumstances in order to give this little girl a chance at life extending into adulthood?

          My money is

          • Actually, fuck no; you're an idiot at best, and a misanthrope at worst. Did you perhaps think that maybe a bunch of people with relatively little experience in building fucking craniums did the best they could under the circumstances in order to give this little girl a chance at life extending into adulthood?

            You have completely missed the point I was making, and your vehemence and vitriol say the rest. Try actually thinking about what I actually wrote, rather than running off on tangents.

            Yes, portions of child skulls HAVE been done in Europe and U.S. Not quit such a large portion, but still. Their "advance" is only incremental, and they did it differently than Western doctors would have.

            Do I think their method has inherent flaws? Yes, as I actually pointed out. Which had NOTHING to do with allowance for g

    • I think human heads grow a bit slower than other parts of the body. A child's skull is proportionally larger to their body than an adult's. So I'd guess that works in her favor. From what I could see in the pictures and according to the article, the skull top was not build in one piece, but three disconnected pieces. I think the idea is that as she grows, it will expand, and the spaces between the pieces will be filled in with her own bone structure.

      As imperfect a solution as this may be, what's the alt

  • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@nosPaM.gmail.com> on Thursday July 16, 2015 @10:28PM (#50125951) Homepage Journal

    Han Han reached a point where she had a difficult time lifting her head which weighed more than half of her entire body weight

    Which raises the question: How does Charlie Brown [hitfix.com] hold his head up?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Which raises the question: How does Charlie Brown [hitfix.com] hold his head up?

      It's filled with helium. Either that or he constantly listens to Argent [wikipedia.org].

    • Pretty sure Charlie Brown has an adamantium reinforced skeleton.

  • This poor kid had a real life "Mars Attacks" skull. Afterward, she looks almost normal, with a slight forehead bulge that could be covered with bangs. Job well done by the doctors.
    • This poor kid had a real life "Mars Attacks" skull. Afterward, she looks almost normal, with a slight forehead bulge that could be covered with bangs. Job well done by the doctors.

      I can only express my admiration for the father, the mother ran out on them but he didn't give up raised the money and saved the life of his daughter. He showed more determination and humanity than many other people would have been capable of in this situation including the child's own mother.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I guess the bulge is there because the doctors thought, why not give her a size or three larger, so she doesn't need operations every 2nd year as she grows.

  • While the medical achievements are amazing, something is bitter about the pediatric medicine in China.

    $80,000 was the cost of the operation.

    Yet the Chinese government puts enormous pressure to abort the second child in the family and literally millions of healthy children are aborted.

    I never understood this selective use of efforts comparable to other initiative: one launch of satellite costing billions, mainly to pay salaries for the thousands of engineers and technicians, could also be used to provide ele

    • Yet the Chinese government puts enormous pressure to abort the second child in the family and literally millions of healthy children are aborted.

      Abortion happens when the fetus is still not an independent lifeform. Also, abortion is legal in many Western countries, which means that quite a lot of people (me included) think that a fetus is less of a human than a child that's outside of the mother (and that the choice of the mother matters more during pregnancy - otherwise we would have to, what, chain the woman until she gives birth? because there are more ways to get an abortion than one)..

      However, once the child is born, it is considered valuable (

    • I never understood this selective use of efforts comparable to other initiative: one launch of satellite costing billions, mainly to pay salaries for the thousands of engineers and technicians, could also be used to provide electricity and internet (even if it is a wireless internet) to the millions and millions of people in Africa who would really benefit from it.

      Satellite launches and space industry produce indirect benefits to society (R&D into industries, scientific breakthroughs, increase productivity through increase communication capacity).

      If you are going to guilt trip about first world spending at least choose a better cause (one with smaller indirect benefits and more pointless wealth redistribution). World poverty could be solved if we stopped making billion dollar Hollywood movies and everyone instead donated that ticket price to poor countries. Or wh

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What happens when she grows up? That skull ain't gonna grow with her. Her brain will just end up squishing itself.

    • Yeah, but she'll be able to head butt like never before.

      MMA:
      "Sorry ma'am, but you've got more than 5 grams of titanium in your skull; we can't allow you to fight."

      You've seriously limited her future options for gainful employment, nice job, assholes!
  • They couldn't give her retractable claws while she was under?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is anyone else skeptical of the claim that this was 3D printing? I really doubt they used FDM to build anything out of titanium. And just in case some idiot is going to say it: no, traditional fabrication methods and CNC milling are *not* 3D printing.

  • Because this has been done several times before already. In the US for example, or just last year in The Netherlands [volkskrant.nl]. (you might need google translate).
  • Love how they pixellated her eyes in the first pic, but then failed to do so in any of the rest.
  • Megamind!

    Okay, maybe two words depending on how you look at it. :)

    Seriously, though, this is pretty amazing!
    It's nice to hear about a baby's life being saved - as opposed to all of the gloom and doom fear mongering in the mainstream media.
  • Chinese Girl Receives Full Skull Reconstruction Via 3D Printing

    "remove a large portion of her skull"

    Headline VS Summary... FIGHT!

    Sounds an awful lot like Han Han had PARTIAL skull reconstruction... That's what "portion" means right?

  • As a father of a lovely girl born with spina biffida, hydrocephalus and arnold schiari I really know what are the dangers of the spinal fluid filling the brain.
    Also the lack of early trearment of her hydrocephalus shocks me because they let it grows so much and by the article the family said the don't have the money required to do a treatment/surgery which also prompts me to ask: There's no social security on China?

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