3D Printing Facilitates The Kidney Transplant For A 2 Year Old
3D printers have swiftly but surely found their way in myriad of fields and we are hearing about amazing feats being achieved all thanks to 3D printing. It has overtaken the world of science and technology due to its flexibility and plethora of applications. The recent feat that has been achieved in collaboration with this geeky technology is the transplantation of an adult’s kidney into a child. The report comes from Guy’s and St. Thomas’ in London.
According to statistics that have been issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kidney disease affects 1.7% of population – that is roughly 3.9 million Americans. The National Kidney Foundation explains that the chronic kidney disease (CKD) features multiple conditions and varying causes as well including diabetes and high blood pressure. Once the kidneys fail, a regular dialysis or a transplant is required for keeping the patient alive.
Meet Lucy Boucher who survived a heart failure when she was just a baby. The heart failure occurred due to her unusually fast heartbeat, the condition is known as supraventricular tachycardia. She had to undergo a surgery owing to her peculiar heart condition, however, lack of oxygen had resulted in kidney failure and according to the prognosis she required dialysis three times a week for the rest of her life.
Enter 3D printing technology that was made use of in order to transplant a kidney donated by her father Chris at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. A 3D printer was made use of in order to 3D print models of donated kidney and Lucy’s abdomen. These models allowed the surgeons to plan the intricate operation accurately thus reducing the risks. This is the first time that 3D printing has been used for helping with the kidney transplant surgery that involves a donated kidney from an adult for a child recipient.
The measurements for the 3D printed models were obtained using MRI and CT scans. Once the measurements has been collected, the 3D printer was used for creating a liquid plastic model that was molded beneath ultraviolet light resulting in the exact size and density of the body parts. The models allowed the surgeons to check if the transplant would be feasible and helped them to practice the operation beforehand thus allowing them to move forward with the actual transplant more confidently. The transplant took 4 hours to complete and was a complete success.
Lucy’s parents were amazed and surprised by the level of detail that the 3D printed models offered and according to her father, Chris, this allowed him to gain a better understanding of the procedure and helped with reducing his anxiety about the transplant.
Lucy’s mother Ciara said, “We found it amazing that we could see these incredibly detailed models of Chris’ kidney and Lucy’s abdomen. Considering all the potential complications, it’s fantastic that everything has gone so well. It’s a massive relief. The transplant is life changing for Lucy.”
Mr. Pankaj Chandak is the transplant expert who came up with the fabulous idea of making use of 3D printing. He says that 3D printing has a myriad of advantages for both surgeons and parents, the most important being the safety. That makes sense since planning and practicing places surgeons in a much better position for the actual operation and helps them in coming up with a strategy that allows for a safe and successful surgery.
Lucy will, thanks to the doctors and 3D printing, be able to live a normal life and shall be attending the nursery next year and will be going to swimming for the first time with her brother Daniel. Michael Wright is the head of the Health Investment Department at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Charity. He said that the 3D printer was purchased using a charity grant and has been attracting quite a lot of interest from clinicians belonging to various specialties. He says that they are hopeful to witness more amazing uses of 3D printing soon.