People have been patching up their bodies with foreign parts for ages now, but 3D printing has only made that process easier, faster and more emblematic of hope. Case in point: a Chinese farmer named Hu fell three stories in a construction accident, and he has a shot at a normal life again thanks to a 3D-printed titanium mesh that doctors installed where the left side of his skull used to be. The accident left Hu with impaired vision and an inability to speak or write, so surgeons at Xijing Hospital in northwest China took him under the knife for three hours to return his skull cavity to its normal shape. It's too soon to tell if his normal brain function will return, though -- doctors hope his gray matter will slowly start to regenerate now that it has the space to grow. This isn't the first time 3D printed parts have complemented someone's cranium -- doctors in the Netherlands replaced most of a woman's skull with 3D printed plastic after it was discovered that the bone surrounding her brain was slowly growing thicker and threatening her cognitive future.

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