Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children is looking to expand its use of 3D printing to assist with complex surgical procedures.
Nemours commonly uses 3D printing for procedures like oral surgery as well as facial and skull reconstruction surgery.
Images from a CAT scan are sent to a 3D printer to create a model of the patient’s jaw or skull. The surgeon can then use the model to plan the procedure.
“Using that preoperative planning reduces the time in the OR and improves the function of the repair afterward,” said Pediatric Radiologist Dr. Sharon Gould.
The hospital is now planning to use this technology to assist with surgeries for children with congenital heart disease.
Gould says Nemours recently installed MRI software that generates high-resolution imaging of a patient’s cardiovascular system without the use of radiation and sends it to the 3D printer.
“To generate a model of the heart and then the surgeons are able to look at that model,” said Gould. “They can open it and look inside it and look at the extremely complicated blood flow patterns and then plan for re-correcting the blood flow patterns within that heart.”
Gould says Nemours currently has the technology to create a 3D model of a heart but surgeons have yet to use it on a first patient.