The Smart Magazine About Medical Technology Innovations

#14 - 3D Printing in Medicine

First Use of 3D Printing to Plan a Kidney Transplant


Courtesy of Guy’s and St Thomas’

A two-year-old girl from Northern Ireland has become the first patient ever to undergo a kidney transplant using 3D printing to plan this highly complex operation.

Lucy Boucher suffered heart failure as a baby, resulting in oxygen starvation throughout her body, including her kidneys. She was facing the prospect of lifelong dialysis when experts at Guy’s and St Thomas’ and Great Ormond Street Hospital in the U.K. proposed what they claim to be the world’s first use of 3D printing to prepare the transplant of her father’s kidney into her body.

Models of the father’s kidney and the daughter’s abdomen, created from CT and MRI scans, were 3D printed on a Stratasys Objet 3D printer. These prints allowed surgeons to precisely plan the highly complex operation, minimizing the risks.

Performed last November, the surgery lasted only four hours. Both donor and recipient recovered completely. According to Dr. Pankaj Chandak, who first proposed the idea, the most important benefit of this revolutionary use of 3D printed models is “patient safety.” It also reduces complications and cuts surgical times.

Here is a BBC video on the Boucher family:

About the Author

Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.

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