Miracle Miracle! A woman’s kidney tumor cured by 3D printing

When it’s about performing surgeries on vital organs, today’s advanced imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRIs and ultrasound machinery have made an easy access pass inside patient’s bodies for doctors even before they cut the patient open.

This has done wonders for doctors and patients both saving them from unexpected situations. In recent past 3D technology has been a frequent show within various hospitals around the world. 3D technology merges 3-dimensional imaging with 3D printing, to create touchable replicas of a patient’s body portions. China’s usage of 3D technology has been an all-time high lately as this incident also suggests.

The miraculous operation:

Earlier this month, doctors at Xiangya Hospital of Urology, Central South University in China diagnosed Lee, a woman of 60 with a left renal tumor. It was located right next to the renal hilum consisting of many vital veins and arteries.

Usually the surgery without removing the entire kidney is impossible and the procedure is called “radical nephrectomy”. This is done in order to reduce the huge risks of potentially cutting an important artery or vein in the process, or of having the patient suffer from IRI (ischemia-reperfusion injury).

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Actual surgery image | Source: 3D Print.

However, in this unique case the doctors used 3D technology and successfully removed the tumor without removing the kidney.

Xiangya Hospital of Urology Physician, Qi Lin, decided to make use of the most advance 3D technology to assist in surgical planning, a technology that would remove the tumor and will also save Lee’s kidney. For this procedure, doctors took accurate 3-dimensional CT scans of Lee’s kidney, the tumor and the adjoining tissue, and created a series of 3D printed replicas. Using these replicas, doctors accurately spotted where Lee’s renal artery, as well as the smaller branches of that artery were located, and finally devised a plan for surgery.

Ultimately On May 11, in a 90-minute surgery, Doctor Qi Lin and his surgical team performed the complex operation successfully. A great deal of time was saved due to 3D printing and Lee only lost around 50ml blood. The multiple dimension of image printing accurately determines tumor location which is spot on and hassle free.

After this land mark surgery, Lee is expected to make a full recovery, and Qi Lin’s team will certainly make good use of 3D technology in future surgeries as well.

Featured Image via: 3ders.org

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