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May 31, 2016

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

3D-printing surgery a success

A baby boy suffering from a rare birth defect affecting his skull successfully underwent a surgical procedure made possible by 3D printing technology, Shanghai Children’s Medical Center announced yesterday, adding that it was a first for China.

The 8-month-old was born with craniosynostosis, a condition in which the joints between the bones of the skull close prematurely before the brain is fully formed, which resulted in his head and facial features being misshapen, and hampered his brain development.

Medical staff used 3D-printing technology to create an exact model of his skull to allow surgeons to fully plan the procedure in advance of making the first incision.

The surgery was conducted on May 21 and the boy was discharged yesterday with a normal head shape and facial features, and his brain is expected to develop normally.

The boy, from east China’s Jiangsu Province, was diagnosed with the condition, which affects six babies out of every 10,000, right after birth. It can affect brain function and cause developmental delays, seizures and even death.

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center’s Dr Bao Nan said: “Thanks to 3D-printing technology, we were able to create a model of the patient’s skull beforehand, allowing us to make a detailed surgical plan beforehand.

“We also measured his parents’ facial and head data to help design the face with family features.”


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