The complexities and impacts 3D printing is making on the world are myriad. We report on so many amazing companies and innovations that are, indeed, changing the world and processes on many levels for design and prototyping to manufacturing and marketing. The transformations that are most ‘heartwarming’ however, are the cases where 3D printing is able to make a difference in the life or health of a child.
Recently, 3D printing was able to directly assist in the surgical outcome of a child due to the ongoing innovations provided by 3D Systems. While the creation of 3D printed models has been used for assistance in many different surgeries, this is one of the youngest we’ve reported on.
The toddler in question, only 20 months old, was having not only trouble breathing, but also swallowing. Both are terrifying issues to have challenges with for an adult or child, and fixing the problems warranted a lengthy and intricate surgery by cardiothoracic surgeons from the Washington University School of Medicine. The procedure itself was performed at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital facility.
3DS was responsible for creating a realistic, color, 3D printed model of the little one’s heart. The model was able to help surgeons prepare for the detailed and delicate surgery they would have to perform, keeping them and the patient at the operating table for two and a half hours.
3D printed models like the one used in this case offer a variety of substantial benefits. One, they allow the surgeons a preview of what they are going to be doing while performing an intense procedure. The model allowed the surgical team to get a good look at the architecture of the child’s vessel structure, which was crucial, as they would have to move heart vessels causing pressure on the windpipe and esophagus. Two, the team had added visual aids to explain and discuss the health issues and impending procedure with the young patient’s very concerned parents.
“With 3D printing, we were able to print a replica of the patient’s heart anatomy, developed from medical imaging scans, and use that model to get a handle on what surgeons would be faced with in the OR and to communicate with the patient’s parents and other team members,” said Dr. Shafkat Anwar, of the Pediatric Cardiology team at Washington University.
Dr. Anwar worked on development of this particular 3D printed heart model with 3DS, now responsible for helping medical professionals in thousands of surgeries due to their innovations in surgical planning and personalized medical solutions.
The surgeons performed the surgery to relocate the vessels and relieve obstruction of the airway causing such issue for the toddler, who is now, thankfully, both breathing and swallowing easier.
“We are excited to see more and more patients benefitting from the use of 3D printed medical models and virtual surgical planning, especially in challenging and complex cases like this heart surgery, where the precision afforded by 3D technology is integral to the procedure’s success,” said Kevin McAlea, Chief Operating Officer, Healthcare Products, 3DS. “From surgical training to implants to prosthetics, 3DS’ personalized medical solutions are helping provide favorable outcomes and improving quality of life.”
Have you been in a medical situation where a 3D printed model was used before a procedure or in explaining the process? What are your thoughts on how these 3D models are helping medical professionals today? Share with us in the 3D Printed Heart Model for Toddler forum thread over at 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
3DPOD Episode 66: Olaf Diegel, University of Auckland
Olaf Diegel is a professor at the University of Auckland who specializes in all aspects of design for additive manufacturing (DfAM). He also 3D prints guitars, other instruments, and eyeballs...
3DPOD Episode 65: 3D Scanning at the U.S. Space Force with Major Travis Tubbs
This time on the 3DPOD, we get to chat with Major Travis Tubbs of the U.S. Space Force. Surprisingly, a lot of the conversation was about plants, but we also...
3DPOD Episode 64: 3D Print Services with Clement Moreau, Sculpteo Founder
Clement Moreau founded Sculpteo and led the 3D print service for ten years before selling it to BASF. In this episode, we follow his journey, discuss what made Sculpteo successful,...
3DPOD Episode 63: Manufacturing in Space with Douglas Hofmann, Principal Scientist, NASA JPL
In this episode, Max and I fall all over ourselves to ask questions of Douglas Hofmann, Principal Scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). We also listen intently as Doug...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.