Surgeons at Kosair Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky., saved the life of a 14-month-old boy with heart defects by using a 3D printed heart, according to an article in the Courier-Journal.
The child had multiple heart defects which made it difficult to pinpoint the problems until the operation was being performed. Looking for solutions, heart surgeon Erle Austin contacted the University of Louisville engineering school and obtained the use of a MakerBot 3D printer to create a model of the child's heart based on 2D CT scans. The 3D model made by the printer allowed surgeons to "see" the defects and develop solutions before surgery.
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“Once I had a model, I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I could do it,” Austin told the Courier-Journal. He was able to make fewer incisions and reduce the length of surgery, as well as ensure that the child wouldn’t need follow-up operations. “It was a tremendous benefit.”
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