3D Printers are now used to help astronauts in space and to save the lives of babies.
This additive manufacturing saved the life of a baby who had a congenital heart defect (CHD) by building a new heart. The chances of the boy surviving were initially slim, but the doctors and surgeons at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian thoght that a 3D printed heart might save his life.
The 3D printed heart was built from tissue rather than plastics. The surgeons first observed the heart using CT scans, then, ordered a model heart from the Cardiovascular Business Development Manager Todd Pietila at Materialise, which then created a 3D model so accurate it captured the heart’s structure and defects in great detail.
When the 3D heart came, two days after they had ordered it, it was made out of a flexible material that was able to be cut and manipulated, giving surgeons the opportunity to make a plan to repair all of the heart’s defects in one go.
The baby’s heart surgery succeeded.