Heart surgery is an extremely difficult procedure. Even more so when the tiny anatomy of a small child is involved. When 14-month old Roland Lian Cung Bawi’s heart was failing him, his surgeon Erle Austin knew that he had to prepare meticulously for an intricate operation. Initially he consulted other surgeons, but this yielded conflicting advice. So Austin turned to 3D printing for help.
Using the facilities at the University of Louisville’s engineering school, Austin and his medical team produced a three dimensional model of little Ronald’s heart. Pediatric operations are difficult because the interior structures of a child’s organs are small and hard to see clearly. This model allowed the surgical team to come up with a precise plan to limit the amount of exploratory incisions, reduce operating time and prevent the need for follow-up operations.
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