July 3, 2014

A team of surgeons at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona, Spain has successfully completed a "highly complex" surgery to remove a tumor in 5 years old boy, thanks to 3D printing.

The child was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, one of the most common cancers in children. It's an "extremely aggressive" tumor that forms in nerve tissue and is diagnosed primarily in children during the first five years of life. The treatment involves surgical removal of the tumor, combined with chemotherapy and / or radiotherapy.

However the tumor is very 'difficult' to remove because there are many blood vessels and arteries surrounding it. This means that surgeons must proceed with "extreme precision" to extract the tumor cells without damaging the arteries and endanger the patient's life.

According to Jaume Mora, head of the operation, the boy has been well treated and they have controlled the disease, but that led to the creation of a tumor in his stomach.

"We tried the surgery twice but we failed because we could not access," said Mora Wednesday in a press conference. But "instead of surrendering we tried to find a solution", he said.

Images: ACN

In such a case, it is important to test the operation in advance. In collaboration with Foundation CIM Technology center at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), the team has made ​​a prototype that reproduced exactly the tumor using 3D printing.

The replica of the tumor was printed out on a multi-material 3D printer. The blood vessels and organs of the affected area were printed in hard resin and the tumor were printed in translucent and soft resin so that surgeons could try to remove the tumor without damaging the blood and organs. Additionally, the surgeons have also built a prototype without tumor to visualize the results.

Lucas explained that the surgeons were able to practice the surgery 10 days before the operation. The 3D printed tumor allows surgeons to study what is the most effective way to address the tumor without damaging other tissues before surgery. In addition, experts also pointed out that it reduces the operation time, and allows surgeons to rehearse this complicated case before entering the operating room.

"This way we could do a test before [the operation, without] the child involved," said one of the surgeons, Kravel Lucas. "These techniques had been used in the case of bones or jaws, but never so far in body parts with soft tissues."

The team has successfully completed the surgery. The doctors said that after the surgery the child will fully recover and require no more operations.

3D printed models allows surgeons to practice in advance of complicated surgeries and evaluate more approaches to solve problems. The hospital said on Wednesday that new technology is allowing more advanced treatments for their patients. The hospital has also commissioned to create 3D models for two other patients.


Source: Elperiodico

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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