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3D PRINTING CASE STUDIES Cranioplasty 3D Printing

Published on July 7th, 2016 | by Raja Sekhar Upputuri

3D Printing helps in Cranioplasty reconstruction


3D Printing can be used for surgical reconstruction of various body parts, esp. bones & skull. A neurosurgeon used 3D printing to reconstruct bone flap on either side of the skull. The doctor opted for 3D printing to get exact surgical template based on the profile of patient’s skull. The surgical template is then used to create flat with bone cement.

Case Background

Dr. Amit Thotakura, a neurosurgeon based out of Vijayawada, operates on many patients daily and always on the lookout for better ways to improve accuracy and efficiency. In this pursuit, he opted for using 3D Printing for a case which involved reconstructing bone flap on either side of the skull. Dr. Amit decided to get an accurate surgical template based on the profile of the patient skull, on which he wants to create the flat with bone cement.


In Cranioplasty, the skull needs to be repaired after trauma, and involves tumor removal and/or correcting congenital irregularities. Surgical Molds plays an important role in reconstruction surgeries. The accurate the mould is the better is the fit. The surgeon needs to adjust the shape in the operation theatre to fit to the patient. Achieving right shape and size in the limited time available with minimal number of iterations is always a big constraint to work with.

Solution & Execution

  • think3D team created the accurate 3D virtual model of the affected area was created from the Dicom images.
  • The part for which the mold needs to be manufactured was generated using modeling software.
  • The virtual model was signed off by the doctor through email.
  • A 3D printed template (mold) was created using additive manufacturing technique and sent to the hospital


Dr. Amit’s team prepared the bone flaps for either side of the skull, with the help of the 3d printed template. On top of the teamplate, bone cement structure was created that matched with the remaining skull profile perfectly. The patient recovered well from the surgery. 3D printing helped the surgeons in arriving at an accurate mold with yields good fit and aesthetics, as the solution is patient specific.

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