A three-year-old girl in China has become the first person in the world to have her skull reconstructed with the help of 3D printing technology, after a 17-hour-long ground-breaking surgery.
The girl was suffering from a medical condition called hydrocephalus, which causes a buildup of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.
The condition left her with a head weighing about 20 kg, while she herself weighs only 32 kg.
Doctors said she is recovering steadily after the 3D-printed titanium alloy skull was implanted, becoming the first person to have her cranium successfully reconstructed by by 3D printers.
Han Han underwent the 17 hour surgery on Wednesday at the Second People’s Hospital of central China’s Hunan Province and is under observation, said neurosurgeon Kuang Weiping, who is in charge of her treatment.
Han was admitted to the hospital two months ago. Since September last year, she has become bedridden as her head grew four times the normal size, taking up more than half of her total weight, Xinhua news agency reported.
Due to the heavy weight, parts of her brain suffered serious infections and she lost sight because her optic nerve was affected.
Kuang said they believed her skull was likely to rupture as infected parts became thinner and only the “brain-shrinking” operation could save her life.
During the process, neurosurgeons peeled her scalp and skull, then drained the fluid in her head.
After the swollen structures in her brain returned to the normal size, they implanted the donated artificial skull and covered it with her scalp.