No, they didn’t print a 3D printed heart that they could put inside a patient (maybe that will come one day), but this is still a great story. They 3D printed a model of a heart to help the surgeons prepare for heart surgery. Here’s an excerpt from The Independent article:
Surgeons at a New York hospital have credited 3D printing with helping to save the life of a 2-week-old baby who required complicated heart surgery.
Using MRI scan data, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City 3D printed a copy of the child’s heart, which was both riddled with holes and structured unusually.
Surgery was going to be complicated and dangerous, but this 3D printed heart provided the surgeons the opportunity to study the organ, and develop a detailed surgery strategy.
“The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with CHD, but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,” Dr Emile Bacha, who performed the surgery, told Connecticut local media.
Really cool stuff. The article also noted that normally this type of surgery would have required multiple operations to complete. With the 3D printed heart, they were able to repair the baby’s heart with one operation.
I’d never thought about using 3D printed objects for teaching, learning and preparing for surgeries. It makes a lot of sense and is a really great innovation. I love when technology comes together and benefits us in ways we likely wouldn’t have expected.