3D printed hearts are making a huge difference in the world of paediatrics.
Having an available model of an organ allows surgeons to prepare for life or death operations in an unprecedented and hugely beneficial manner.
Recently in China, a 9 month old baby was brought into specialists with Total Pulmonary Venous Anomalous Drainage; a congenital heart defect in which the arrangement of the four pulmonary arteries is damaged.
According to Futurism:
“The team used a 3D-printed heart replica to start planning for the surgery to address the child’s malpositioned pulmonary veins and an atrial septal defect.
This marks the first time that a full-sized, 3D-printed heart was used to pre-plan a major surgery in China. “With the model, we were able to know precisely where and how we should cut, and how big the incision should be. And with such a thorough plan, we spent only half the time we had expected to complete the surgery,” the baby’s surgeon, Doctor Zhang Xueqin said.
The child, meanwhile, has already undergone the surgery and has been moved to a general recovery ward, and is expected to recover nicely with no unwanted side effects. Which bodes very well indeed for the future of using 3D materials in surgical planning.”
This isn’t the only example of 3D printing saving a child’s life. Reports of a similar case in New York appeared in 2014 and, as shown in the video below, the future looks good for further development within the field.