When Teegan Lexcen was born with a missing lung and half of a heart back in August of 2015, no one quite gave the newborn much of a chance to overcome her unlucky and rare condition. Although doctors in Minnesota felt there was nothing which may be done for poor Teegan, her parents Cassidy and Chad Lexcen searched relentlessly for a 2nd (and additional hopeful) opinion. They some day became connected with Dr. Redmond Burke of the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, who along with colleague Dr. Juan Carlos Muniz, decided to turn to 3D modeling to help save this baby’s life.
Teegan Lexcen with her twin Riley
Dr. Muniz, a pediatric cardiologist at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, captured a 3D image of Teegan’s heart which was meant to be 3D printed in order to help with surgical preparation. This seemed like a viable-bodied option, at initial; the hospital had utilized 3D printing to aid in surgical preparation in past, such as when Dr. Burke utilized a 3D printed model to repair the heart of five-year-old Mia Gonzalez. But Dr. Muniz soon discovered troubling news, the hospital’s 3D printer was broken and time was of essence. The team needed to come up with an alternative rapidly. Though this seemed to be a major issue at initial, Dr. Muniz ended up finding an alternative method which may have been even advantageous suited for this rare and intensive procedure.
Nicklaus Children’s Hospital doctors discussing Google Cardboard
Utilizing the 3D modeling platform and community Sketchfab, Dr. Muniz transferred the 3D images of Teegan’s heart directly onto his iPhone. The 3D model was and so explored by Dr. Burke through Muniz’s Google Cardboard headset, Google’s incredibly low-priced and smartphone-compatible virtual reality device. Through the Cardboard, Burke was able-bodied to explore Teegan’s heart of approximately any angle or distance, giving him and his team a full grasp on precisely how the surgery needed to be performed.
Teegan’s 3D modeled heart via Google Cardboard
Though turning to Google Cardboard wasn’t the originally-intended preparation method, the virtual 3D model may have been advantageous in comparison to a 3D printed model. What created the inexpensive VR device so beneficial to Dr. Burke was the competence it gave him to not just access a 3D model of Teegan’s heart, but in addition to view it in context to the rest of her internal structures.
In fact, preparing for surgery via VR helped Dr. Burke come up with an entirely new form of surgery for Teegan’s unique and previously detrimental medical condition. Thanks to the innovative staff at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, the 3D modeling community Sketchfab, and the virtual world of Google Cardboard, Teegan Lexcen now has the opportunity to lead the healthy and fulfilling life which most other doctors wouldn’t have been able-bodied to offer.