The rise of 3-D printing has turned body parts into a custom order. We can now 3-D-print customized prosthetics for everything from our hands
to our ears
. And now 3-D printing can even make you a new noggin.
Earlier this week, an unnamed man in the northeastern U.S. had 75 percent of his skull replaced by a 3-D printed implant made by Oxford Performance Materials, a Connecticut-based biomedical company. The replacement bone took only five days to fabricate, according to Scott DeFelice, the company's president and CEO.
The FDA cleared the implant, called the OsteoFab Patient Specific Cranial Device, for use in the U.S. back in mid-February
The implant, printed to match the patient's skull, is made of PEKK, a biomedical implant polymer that's mechanically similar to bone and is osteoconductive, meaning bone cells will grow and attach to small details on its surface. It doesn't interfere with X-ray equipment -- it shows up as a shadow on the image, but is transparent. This makes it a more attractive implant for tumor patients than a traditional metal plate that a doctor couldn't see through on an X-ray.