Plastic skulls to treat head injuries

Could plastics be part of the solution to head trauma? This is what recent research suggests, as a teamof physicians,researchers anddesignershave succeeded in developinga specialskull prosthesismade ​​of plasticsThe latter should help save patients suffering from head injuries, which affect over half of all victims of car accidents and have been identified as the principal cause of deathamongst adolescents.

Dependingon the severity ofthe accident, headinjuriescan affect areas that vary both in size and from one patient to another. "Customised" implants are therefore vital and can now be produced thanks to plastics. With the help of laser technology, patient-specific lattice structure, made of plastics and covering only the affected areas of the skull, will now be produced. This speciallayerconstruction methodallows for the creation of more complexstructures whichbetter stimulatebone recovery compared toconventionally-manufacturedimplants.

The production of the brand new prosthesis isautomated and can be done within a fewhours. The surgeononly needsto send the patient's MRI scantoa computer which thentakes over the operation. Such amanufacturing processmakessurgerymore predictableand shorter,savesmaterialsandhas a unqiue capacity to answer specific patient needs.

Research on a new skull prosthesis notably aimed to solve issues encountered with conventionalmaterials which were sometimes too expensiveand time consuming.The choice of plastics isdueto the material's reducedweight, strength and biocompatibility, as well as itspermeability toCT, MRIandX-rays. Furthermore, it caneasilybeprocessedin a laser-sintering system. These features make plastics ideal for thedevelopmentofcranialimplants and key to patients' lives.
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