Biomedical Engineering Blog

Biomedical Engineering

The Biomedical Engineering blog is the place for conversation and discussion about topics related to engineering principles of the medical field. Here, you'll find everything from discussions about emerging medical technologies to advances in medical research. The blog's owner, Chelsey H, is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering.

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Another Win for 3D Printing

Posted February 15, 2015 3:14 PM by Chelsey H

A little girl named Violet was born with a rare defect called a Tessier facial cleft. The defect left a fissure in her skull, but doctors have found a way to use 3-D printing to help during the complicated surgeries.

A Tessier facial cleft caused a large growth over Violet's left eye, setting her eyes very far apart. She also had no cartilage in her nose. The bones that normally join to form the fetal face had not fused properly.

Before the operation, Dr. Meara at Boston Children's Hospital wanted a more precise understanding of Violet's skull so he had a colleague print him a 3-D model of Violet's skull, based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pictures.

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The model helped the doctor decide the surgical options and discuss his treatment plan with Violet's family. Additional printouts allowed Dr. Meara to rotate the model skull in directions he could not manage with a picture and would not attempt with a patient on the operating table. It also allowed him to cut and manipulate the plastic model to determine the best way to push her eye sockets more than an inch closer together.

Experiments with the models showed the doctor where bones would touch and where problems may occur throughout the surgery, even allowing him to consult the model during the surgery, which went as planned.

The surgical simulation program has been shown to improve team communication and trust, lift confidence before extremely complex operations, and shorten a patient's time under anesthesia.

Models such as the ones used by Dr. Meara are transforming medical care by giving surgeons new perspective and opportunities to practice complex procedures. Hospitals are also printing training tools and personalized surgical equipment.

Watch the amazing story in the video here.

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#1

Re: Another Win for 3D Printing

02/16/2015 9:23 AM

Doctor did similar work here with a young girl's defective heart.

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/11/20/3d-printed-hearts-help-surgeons-save-babies-lives/

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Re: Another Win for 3D Printing

02/18/2015 5:16 AM

Excellent, a heart warming story.

Del

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