When it comes to industries that are strongly swept by 3D printing technology, the medical field comes first. From the procedures involving 3D scanning, modelling to 3D printing, digital fabrication had been a very useful tool for surgeons. Through 3D printing, surgeons are now able to visualize and practice complicated surgery on patient-specific models, which are just used for teaching purposes before. It is also a positive breakthrough that most medical prosthetics are dramatically decreasing in price but amazingly improving in aesthetic satisfaction.
A recent event has proven the advantages of 3D printing technology application. It has brought miracle to Mia Gonzalez, a 5-year old girl who was diagnosed with a double aortic arch. This is an uncommon heart malformation that makes breathing hard for Mia. A vascular ring that surrounds her trachea and esophagus is the cause of the constriction. Ordinary people often think that this condition is just known as asthma, but
it was not. Though the symptoms are almost the same, this condition could put Mia’s life at risk.
A complicated surgery is needed to save Mia. Dr. Redmond Burke and the cardiovascular surgery team at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital wasted no time. They made
a plan and were able to amplify the effectiveness of their surgery planning process by 3D printing an exact model of Mia’s heart to determine which area of the arch should be repaired to ensure the best possible outcome.
The challenge for the medical team is how to divide the double aortic arch and save Mia’s life without hurting her. By 3D printing a model of her very complex aortic arch
vessels, they were able to further visualize which part of her arch should be divided to achieve the best physiological result. The results were very powerful. Mia’s surgery was exceptionally successful. Big thanks to the 3D heart model that guided doctors to visualize the task at hand in fine details. The little girl recovered in only two months and can now live a happy, normal life.
Based on the story Stratasys's 3D Technology Helps Perform Medical Miracle on 5-Year Old by Andrew Wheeler