3D printed skull helps brain surgeons. Source: NewScientist/Youtube.com
3D printed skull helps brain surgeons. Source: NewScientist/Youtube.com

Brain surgery is a complicated skill that takes years to master. However, practicing brain surgery isn’t readily available for surgeons learning the craft. To solve this problem, researchers at University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur have 3D printed a skull that allows brain surgeons to practice.

Vicknes Waran, a professor in the Department of Surgery, has used an Object500 Connex 3D printer to create a life-like 3D printed skull from scans of a real skull. The 3D printed skull simulates the textures and colors that surgeons encounter during surgery.

This new model will help students to understand and perform their work in as realistic environment as possible. The skulls are affordable, costing $2,000 each. An instructor can also customize the skull to simulate the conditions that he wishes to teach. The disposable inset materials [simulating the brain] cost $600, making this a viable option for students. This is a much better solution than practicing the alternative: working with living tissue and bone.

3D printing has proven useful for other applications in the medical industry such as bioprinting, prosthetics, and even replacing part of a man’s skull. Soon, it may become commonplace for students to learn surgery on 3D printed anatomy or for patients to receive 3D printed organ transplants.

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