Summary: Jessica Cussioli suffered a horrible motorcycle accident and was left without a major portion of her skull. Neurosurgeons rescued her by conducting Brazil’s first-ever 3D-Printed titanium skull transplant.
Jessica Cussioli, a 23-year old Brazilian suffered a horrible motorcycle accident and major part of her skull got damaged. Neurosurgeons in Brazil performed the country’s preliminary 3d-printed titanium skull transplant to rescue her.
Reportedly, Cussioli’s head’s right side bones were fractured badly due to the accident and she had a 4.7”/12cm long hole throughout her skull. Before the surgery she complained of headaches, body aches, malaise and dizziness.
All other options were prohibitively expensive as some of the estimates reached as high as USD 41,500. This is why a more radical solution was being sought by her family and this search led them to UNICAMP’s Hospital de Clinicas in Campinas. The surgeons here had previous experience of 3D printed titanium implants.
Through Cussioli’s 3D scans, Med-tech firm Biofabris developers created a virtual model of her skull. However, before performing the surgery the neurosurgeons received approval from the board of ethics of the university since titanium isn’t an Anvisa approved material. Anvisa is the National Health Surveillance Agency in Brazil.
After acquiring the approval, the team created 3D-printed plates in both titanium and resin because resin version was to be used as a surgical model.
The surgeons’ decision to use titanium has been explained by experts at 3ders as:
“While other implant options, including bone excerpts and acrylic resin, were also considered, the Brazilian doctors resorted to 3D printed titanium due to its high level of detail and the minute risk of rejection. ‘The polymethylmethacrylate often leads to a rejection process. This rejection may cause small or large wounds in a person, in the scalp or the face. Titanium, in turn, is a biocompatible material. Researcher Luis André Biofrabris Munhoz, who also worked on the project, added that titanium is one of the most stable materials for implants. ‘It has a strong mechanical resistance and corrosion resistance when placed inside the human body, and it is a lightweight material. The patient’s recovery process is similar to when recovering from a bone fracture.”
Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) performed the surgery and it was declared a success. Cussioli also is feeling better now.
The Biofabris website quoted her as saying:
“I want to graduate, go back to work, go out with my friends, dating … Now it’s normal life.”