SCIENCE
03/21/2013 07:53 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2013

Doctors Replace 75 Percent Of Man's Skull With Implant From 3D Printer

Doctors have used 3D printing technology to replace most of a man's skull.

The groundbreaking surgery occurred last week, when 75 percent of an American patient's skull was replaced with an implant from an Oxford Performance Materials 3D printer. According to the New York Daily News, the Connecticut-based company shapes implants specifically to the anatomy of each patient, who in this case, remains unidentified.

The implant is called the OsteoFab Patient Specific Cranial Device, made from PEKK polymer, which is similar to bone.

During the process of 3D printing, which is also known as additive manufacturing, a digital model becomes a three-dimensional, solid object as multiple layers of material are laid down and shaped, according to UPI.

The technology could revolutionize health care.

"It is our firm belief that the combination of PEKK and Additive Manufacturing ... is a highly transformative and disruptive technology platform that will substantially impact all sectors of the orthopedic industry," Scott DeFelice, President and CEO of Oxford Performance Materials, said in a press release.

The Daily News reported that approximately 300 to 500 patients use the implants monthly. They could potentially aid cancer patients, car accident victims and soldiers, among others.

The company is starting with skulls, but will likely expand to include more implant options like femurs, knee caps and hips.

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