Professor Bon H. Verweij is a neurosurgeon. Throughout his career, he has been put in contact with a wide range of pathology, which allowed him to keep the clinician point of view of technical limitations of the available procedures. However, the scientist in him tried to find a solution for them – and when one meets the other, innovation happens.
He attended medical school at Leiden University. After that, he took research fellow positions in the USA, at Wayne State University School of Medicine and at UC Davis Medical Center. Since 2003, he has been working at UMC Utrecht, where he has done much of the work he will speak to us about at the iMed Conference® 8.0.
One of the biggest achievements so far, for Professor Verweij, has been the possibility of replacing a full skull on a patient with van Buchem’s disease (a disease which causes thickening of the skull, that over time creates a skull as thick as 5 cm, with any compression symptoms to the brain being possible) with a 3D printed plastic prosthetic to fit it perfectly. Not only has it made the procedure possible, but it has also brought the patient a cosmetic result that would have been unimaginable with the materials usually used to cover these bone defects.
Furthermore, it is not only in the operating theatre that Professor Verweij has been creating new solutions for medical problems. In recent years, there have been voices raising concerns about how clinicians share medical images and information, due to the risk of a confidentiality breach. It has been mentioned that doctors share these images via WhatsApp, which had security breaches in the past. Recognising the dilemma then, the Professor stated that “I even sometimes saved lives because we were able to provide much faster via a mobile message about an emergency situation and then decide on the old systems. But there are obvious privacy concerns.“ and was involved in the creation of a secure communicator tool, in the form of a mobile phone app, Esculapp.