The New Physicians Assistant

3D Printed Models Help Save Infant AND Remove Tumor

3D Printed Models

Doctors utilize 3D printed models to save two lives, successfully removing a particularly problematic tumor and returning externalized brain to an infant’s cranium.

It’s been an incredible season for 3D printing in hospitals. Thanks to 3D printed models, an Ohio woman is now cancer-free, and an infant afflicted with severe encephalocele may be on his way to an almost ordinary life.

Ohio couple Sierra and Dustin Yoder were told their unborn son was troubled by a rare and devastating condition and would likely not survive birth, or would pass away soon thereafter. Baby Bentley’s skull was deformed, and parts of the brain were outside of his skull.

3D printed model help doctors save infant (image: Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children's Hospital)
3D printed model helped doctors save this baby boy (image: Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

After an unexpected four months time with baby Bentley, the Yoders realized there might just be hope. Doctors at the Boston Children’s Hospital used 3D printed models of the skull to plan the highly complex brain surgery where they would try to reinsert the vital parts into Bentley’s skull.

The 3D printed skull served as a practice tool and allowed doctors to determine exactly how to get the 100 cubic centimeters of brain back into the cranium. After 8 hours of surgery, Bentley was in recovery. Bentley’ future remains complicated, but the use of 3D printing has only added an incredible development to an already miraculous story.

3D Printing in Utah Assists Removal of Tucked Away Tumor

A procedure in Utah was also greatly facilitated by 3D printed models. Linda Green’s kidney cancer was only made worse by the tumor’s position underneath her ribs. Tucked away and tough to reach, an already bleak situation looked even worse.

Dr. Jay Bishoff of the Intermountain Medical Center performed the surgery and — most importantly — was successful. The precariously positioned tumor, however, might not have been removed if it wasn’t for 3D printing. Without the chance to see the tumor in 3D, it might have been a lot messier.

“We could not appreciate the peak of the tumor that was growing up into the drainage system of the kidney until we did the 3D reconstruction and 3D printing,” Bishoff tells Good4Utah.

3D Printed model helps doctor remove tumor (Image: Good4Utah)
3D Printed model helps doctor remove tumor (Image: Good4Utah)

The printed model offered a new level of precision to the doctor and helped analyze the situation much more carefully. To which, Green herself added,

“I could’ve ended up with infection across my outer body or bleeding out.”

There are many more ways 3D printing helped in medicine… here are some examples what the technology can achieve in prosthetics.