This rare skull-thickening disease led to a 3-D-printed replacement

van Buchem disease is a genetic condition that primarily affects small pockets of Dutch people

By Erika Engelhaupt, 17:48 PM March 30, 2014

Last week a Dutch hospital announced that it had removed the entire top of a woman’s skull and replaced it with a plastic implant, custom-made using a 3-D printer. The story, with a video (below) and amazing photos of the 22-year-old woman’s delicate pink brain encased in a thin piece of clear plastic, went viral immediately.

But what I wanted to know, and couldn’t find in any of the reports, was what condition could make a person’s skull grow 5 centimeters (2 inches) thick, which made the sur...

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