Hunan, China — Han Han is a 3-year-old toddler from China who has never been able to lift the weight of her own head. Han Han suffers from a rare condition called congenital hydrocephalus which causes her head to grow up to four times the normal size.
However, thanks to the revolution of 3D-printing and a team of incredible doctors, Han Han will soon be nodding and turning like the rest of the children her age.
Han Han received a procedure which translates from Chinese called “whole brain shrinking plastic surgery.”
“CT results showed that Han Han’s brain was filled 80 percent with water,” said Dr. Bo of the Second People’s Hospital of Hunan Province. “If she was not sent to hospital for treatment, Han Han would not have survived the summer. We had to first eliminate the infection in Han Han’s head because the brain wound area was too large, and we needed to do skin graft surgery and insert a shunt to help eliminate the infection, and remove the fluid from her brain.”
Han Han’s family was able to raise money for the procedure through an internet campaign as well as friends and family. The cost of the surgery was around $75,000, which is a trivial amount when compared to the cost of surgeries in the US.
Medical Daily explains:
Surgeons were able to use 3D data and a CT scanner to create models for 3D printing three titanium mesh skull implants that would together replace Han Han’s entire top portion of her skull.
During the procedure, her scalp was peeled away from her skull and then attached to protective saline pads. Drainage tubes were then put in her head to slowly release the CSF. Lastly, the surgeons took the three 3D-printed titanium implants and inserted them into her head to recreate a new skull for her.
At the end of the grueling 17-hour procedure, Han Han opened her eyes and was breathing as she was transported to ICU for recovery.
As Han Han grows, her bone will grow around the titanium implant and strengthen top of her skull. She is expected to make a full recovery.