There’s no shortage of heartwarming stories made possible with 3D printing and a story coming out of Northern Ireland is as heartwarming as the many of them. Thanks to 3D printed pre-surgical versions and the love of her own father, three-year-old Lucy Boucher can be able-bodied to live a relatively healthy and normal life.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, when Lucy experienced heart failure as a outcome of an irregular heart beat, her kidneys, and entire body, were deprived of oxygen. Whilst her heart condition was treated through one surgery, kidney failure set the young girl up for a lifetime of dialysis. That is, until a team of doctors, of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital, stepped in to perform a kidney transplant with a donation of her own father, Chris Boucher.
Such a surgery in itself is not unheard of, but the use of 3D printing to aid in an adult-to-child kidney transplant is a world initially. To prepare for this life-changing procedure, versions of her father’s kidney and Lucy’s abdomen, made of CT and MRI scans, were 3D printed on a Stratasys Objet 3D printing device. These prints allowed the surgical team to accurately plan what may be a difficult operation and, in turn, decrease the risks involved.
Chris Boucher says of the system, “When I initially saw the versions I was taken aback by the level of additional detail which is in them. It quite assisted me get an thought in my head of what was going to take place. My initially reaction when I saw the 3D printout of my kidney was surprise at how big it was and I wondered how it may probably fit into Lucy. Seeing the version of her abdomen and the way the kidney was going to be transplanted within her gave me a clear belief of precisely what was going to take place. It assisted ease my concerns and it was hugely reassuring to know which the surgeons may carry out such additional detailed planning ahead of the operation.”
The surgery, performed in November of last year, was just four-hours-long, with both the donor and recipient producing a full recovery. But Lucy may have continued to live undergoing dialysis three times a week, the system is an undue burden on a patient so young and, gradually, can lead to long-term medical complications. With her daughter set to attend nursery school next year, Lucy’s mother, Ciara, says, “Considering all the next complications it’s rad which all things has gone so well – it’s a huge relief. The transplant is life-changing for Lucy.”
Pankaj Chandak, the transplant registrar at Guy’s and St Thomas’ who invented of the use of 3D printing in this case, explained how the innovation can aid the hospitals in the next, “Our amazing new use of 3D printed versions to assist plan highly difficult kidney transplant surgery in children brings all sorts of significant advantages for our patients and the surgical team. The many significant benefit is to patient safety. The 3D printed versions allow interesting, hands-on planning, ahead of the surgery with replicas which are the next many thing to the actual organs themselves. This means surgeons are advantageous placed than preceding to prepare for the operation and to assess what surgical approach can contribute the greatest accident of a safe and successful transplant.”
Anyone who’s undergone similarly difficult procedures or had a difficult surgery performed on a favored one can know the next for such high end planning with 3D printing. Reducing complications and cutting surgical times can reduce the uncertainty experienced in a hospital waiting room so which news of a successful operation can become less of a relief to nervous family participants and additional of an expectation.