According to surgeon Erle Austin, the boys heart had multiple defects (a hole in his heart, deformed aorta and pulmonary arteries), which were hard to see even with modern medical imaging. Usually the damage would be explored in the operation table itself, which might turn out critical for patients with multiple defects – but Austin took a different approach. The Kosair Children’s Hospital turned to the University of Louisville’s engineering school for help. The two-dimensional scans were turned into a 3D-model, which was printed on a MakerBot 3D printer. So the team of surgeons already knew what to expect durung the operation.
The operation was a complete success, the boy is expected to make a full revocery.The total cost of the live-saving model was around US$ 600. The US-based Courier Journal has more on the story.
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