3-year old Lucy from Northern Ireland has received a life-saving kidney implant from her father. 3D printing technology has partly been responsible for the successful result of the surgery.
This is yet another great example of how 3D printing technology has changed the way surgeons are nowadays able to plan highly complex operations to minimise any risks. Based on CT and MRI scans, models of the kidney to be transplanted as well as the toddler’s abdomen were 3D printed. It enabled surgeons to assess the feasibility of the transplant and, moreover, to go over each step of the operation in detail beforehand.
While the 3D printed models were a great support to surgeons, they also helped in understanding the family what was going to happen. “When I first saw the models I was taken aback by the level of detail that’s in them”, Lucy’s father Chris said. “It really helped me get an idea in my head of what was going to happen.”
The surgery had been successfully completed after four hours; Lucy and her father are recovering well.
As medical procedures involving custom 3D printed models of the patient’s organs or other parts are more and more common, a company called Changing Technologies has plans to launch a service to turn CT scans into 3D printable files.