Hydrocephalus is a condition when abnormal amount of fluid is accumulated in the brain which causes enlargement of the head. A three-year-old Chinese girl who developed a 20-kg head due to congenital Hydrocephalus is now recovering after the excess fluid was drained out and a 3D-printed titanium alloy skull implanted.
Neurosurgeon Kuang Weiping, in charge of her treatment, said, "The girl, Han Han, underwent the surgery for over 17 hours on Wednesday and remained under observation."
Born with hydrocephalus, Han Han was admitted to the hospital about two months ago. She had become bedridden since September 2014 as her head grew four times the normal size, taking up more than half of her total weight. Due to the heavy weight, parts of her brain started suffering serious infections. She lost her eyesight because her optic nerve was affected.
Kuang said, "We believed her skull was likely to rupture as the infected parts became thinner and only the brain-shrinking operation could save her life."
During the procedure, the neurosurgeon peeled her scalp and skull, and then drained the fluid in her head. Doctors implanted the 3D-printed titanium alloy skull after the swollen structures in her brain returned to the normal size. They then covered it with her scalp. Kuang said, "We were very, very careful, because brain tissue without a skull is like a peeled egg. Fortunately, it went smoothly."