Seattle Children's using 3D printing to help surgeons practice before delicate surgeries

Seattle Children's Hospital is using 3D printing to create replicas of patients' organs and tissue to give its surgical team an opportunity to practice together before an operation, according to an Aug. 6 Kiro 7 report.

Five things to know:

  1. In some surgeries, like a slide tracheoplasty, each step taken has to be precise to prevent complications and patient mortality. Kaalan Johnson, MD, knew that a 3D model would help his team prepare for a delicate surgery on a newborn baby in 2019.

  2. Dr. Johnson recruited Seth Friedman, PhD, the manager of innovation imaging and simulation modeling at Seattle Children's, to create a 3D model of the infant's organs and tissue.

  3. The 3D model is made with materials that mimic human tissue. The model was also to-scale with the infant's organs, which allowed the surgical team to practice before entering the operating room.

  4. The 3D model also helped the infant's parents get an understanding of how the surgery worked. The surgery was successful, and now the infant's mother keeps the 3D model in her purse as a reminder of what her daughter went through.

  5. Now, Dr. Johnson and Dr. Friedman work together to find patients who would be good candidates for using 3D printing in their procedures. 

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