"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology". Those words seem pretty relevant to us today as an anonymous American man readies himself to receive a 3D-printed prosthetic fragment which will replace 75 percent of his skull.
Oxford Performance Materials will be providing the 3D-printed fragment. The patient's skull will be digitally scanned to create a matched skull fragment which will be built up layer by layer. The technique is advanced enough to produce tiny surface and edge details which will encourage cell growth and bone attachment too.
The benefits of the PEKK plastic being used over metal is that current titanium and stainless steel prosthetic are less flexible and more susceptible to abrasion. The 3D-printed plastic skull fragment will also be more similar to the density and stiffness of bone.
Up to 500 US patients could benefit from this sort of treatment every month. In future, if little Timmy breaks his leg, all you'll need to do is scan it with your handy MakerBot 3D scanner, print out a new bone and... well, we'd still leave the rest up to the qualified surgeons. But at least you'll save them a bit of time pre-op.
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