The outlook wasn’t great – Lucy was looking at a lifetime of dialysis treatments unless she could receive a kidney transplant, which is difficult and risky with a toddler. She was referred to experts at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital, both in London. Lucy already had a willing donor who was a match for her blood type – her father, Chris – but the tricky part was transplanting an adult kidney into a toddler’s body.The idea to use 3D printing to help with the surgery came from Pankaj Chandak, a transplant registrar at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital. The hospital had purchased a 3D printer only a few months before, thanks to a grant from Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity. The printer was acquired specifically for the purpose of assisting with transplant surgeries, particularly complicated adult-to-child transplants, and the Bouchers were the first to benefit. Detailed models of Chris’ kidney and Lucy’s abdomen were 3D printed from images taken from their CT and MRI scans.
“When I first saw the models I was taken aback by the level of detail that’s in them,” said Chris Boucher. “It really helped me get an idea in my head of what was going to happen. My first reaction when I saw the 3D printout of my kidney was surprise at how big it was and I wondered how it could possibly fit into Lucy. Seeing the model of her abdomen and the way the kidney was going to be transplanted inside her gave me a clear understanding of exactly what was going to happen. It helped ease my concerns and it was hugely reassuring to know that the surgeons could carry out such detailed planning ahead of the operation.”
The transplant surgery that took place on November 24 at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ was a historic one. It was the first time ever that 3D printing has been used to aid in a kidney transplant from an adult to a child, and it was a success. Having planned ahead, the surgeons knew exactly what they were going to encounter and had already ascertained how they would perform the transplant. The complex surgery lasted four hours, but it likely would have been a lot longer without the prior preparation.
Lucy and her father are both recovering nicely, and next year she will begin attending nursery as a healthy, active child. She had been receiving dialysis treatments three times per week, but those are a thing of the past now. She can spend the time she would have been in treatment doing much more fun things, like playing with her five-year-old brother Daniel.
“Our exciting new use of 3D printed models to help plan highly complex kidney transplant surgery in children brings all sorts of important advantages for our patients and the surgical team,” said Chandak. “The most important benefit is to patient safety. The 3D printed models allow informative, hands-on planning, ahead of the surgery with replicas that are the next best thing to the actual organs themselves. This means surgeons are better placed than before to prepare for the operation and to assess what surgical approach will offer the greatest chance of a safe and successful transplant.”
“Considering all the potential complications it’s fantastic that everything has gone so well – it’s a massive relief,” said Ciara Boucher, Lucy’s mother. “The transplant is life-changing for Lucy.”
You May Also Like
First Large-Format 3D Printer Unveiled by Azul 3D
After a good deal of research and development, followed by funding and the arrangement of its advisory board, Azul 3D has finally launched its first commercial 3D printer. A first-of-its-kind...
Startup Accelerator, Singapore: Desalination, Diet Supplements, and Space 3D Printing
In this fourth installment of Singapore Startups, we’re looking at startup firms from Singapore. Will the tiny nation become an epicentre for 3D printing? What is actually happening in Singapore...
Hug the Panda, Part 6: What China Needs to Make a Jet Engine
Of all the things in the world, there are probably only three things that China can not make: wide-body commercial aircraft, world class aero engines, and latest generation EUV chip...
B9Creations Launches Silicone Material for 3D Printing Jewelry Molds
Global 3D printing solutions provider B9Creations prides itself on promising up front just what it can deliver, and what it’s offering now could impact the jewelry industry. The company, which...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.