Chinese surgeon uses 3D printing to map out difficult heart surgery

Updated: 2015-08-18 16:49


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Chinese surgeon uses 3D printing to map out difficult heart surgery
The 3D-printed heart

NANJING - Doctors in east China's Jiangsu Province recently used a 3D-printed heart to plan a surgery for a nine-month old baby with congenital heart disease.

The baby boy, from Anhui Province, was found with five holes in his heart chambers after birth. The child underwent surgery at Nanjing Children's Hospital on July 3 and had three holes closed. The other two were left open due to difficulty locating them accurately using a b-scan.

Planning the second procedure, surgeon Sun Jian and his team created a 3D printed model of the child's heart in order to better locate the holes. The second operation was carried out on July 21 and went smoothly, Sun said.

Currently the child is in stable condition and recovering.

This is likely the first time 3D technology was used in curing a child's congenital heart disease in China, Sun said.

"The technology is a bliss for children with complicated heart deformity. The printed heart model can help doctors better understand the anatomical structure of the heart before operation, " he said.

"With the development of 3D technology and material, the technology will be more widely used in medicine in the future," he said.

"However, there are still obstacles. Professionals of 3D technology are strangers to medicine while doctors usually know nothing about 3D technology. The two areas need to have more exchanges."