The sophistication of 3D printing in the medical industry continues to amaze people worldwide 🙂
The latest example comes from a company that created a 3D-printed heart model to support a 16-year-old patient with a tumor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
Belgium-based Materialise, which specializes in 3D printing for medical applications, was approached by Dr. Michael Taylor, the director of advanced imaging at The Heart Institute regarding the patient’s condition.
Bradley White, the patient, was born with a heart tumor and has had numerous open-heart surgeries since he was three-years old, and has a defibrillator implanted to protect against sudden cardiac death. But he recently was back in the hospital for yet another procedure to stop the electrical interference caused by the large cardiac tumor.
Dr. Tayler asked Materialise to create a 3-D replica of Bradley’s heart using Mimics Innovation Suite software, modeled on CT scan data. The 3-D printed replica allowed physicians to better understand the complex relationship of the tumor, printed in a hard, opaque material, and surrounding anatomical structures printed in a flexible, transparent material. That let the team of doctors proceed with an electrophysiology study and catheter ablation over a risky surgical resection of the tumor.
The replica also revealed just how big the tumor on Brand’s heart is, which surprised Bradley himself.
“I always thought my tumor was the size of a quarter and didn’t realize how large it was until I saw the [Materialise] model,” he said in an announcement from the company. “It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen by far.”
Materialise is hoping to expand its 3D printing capabilities further into healthcare, and clinicians at Cincinnati Children’s think it can be a great use of technology applied to healthcare and imaging.
“I think 3D Printing will clinically take us to the next generation of imaging. This is our future,” said Dr. David Morale, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s.