Headlines

3D Printer Skull Implant Allows 7-Year-Old Boy to Be a Kid Again: 'We're the Lucky Ones'


Most of the joy of being a kid is, well, being able to act like a kid.

For 7-year-old Teddy Ward, a rambunctious little boy who finds it hard to sit still, none of that was true.

A terrible fall two years ago left him with a hole in his skull that spanned nearly 50 percent of his head. Everywhere he went, Teddy had to wear a helmet.

Read: 9-Year-Old Boy Battling Brain Cancer Gets Sworn In as Honorary Police Officer

His mother, Lisa, was forever shouting at her son to slow down, stop that, don’t run, be careful, calm down, she told KCBS-TV.

Teddy couldn’t go to his friends’ birthday parties because they all had bouncy houses, she said. He couldn’t go to sleepovers because “no parent wanted the responsibility of a child without a skull,” she said.

Previous surgical attempts to close the hole in Teddy’s head were unsuccessful.

That was until recently, when physicians at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles used a 3D printer to manufacture a plate made from polyetheretherketone (PEEK), a thermoplastic polymer increasingly used in orthopedics and trauma medicine.

The first-grader’s surgery was a success, and the plate fit snugly against what remained of his skull.

Read: Bullied Boy Has Surgery to Correct Ears That Stick Out

Teddy is now able to run, jump, roll on the floor and roughhouse like any other kid – all without that pesky helmet.

His mother is ecstatic.

“We are the lucky ones,” she said. “And we know it. And we’re thankful.”

 Watch: 1-Year-Old Girl Born with Large Tumor on Face Gets Life-Changing Surgery

Related Coverage