Medical & Dental

How 3D Printing help this Surgeon save a baby boy with a rare birth defect

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center is a world renowned children’s hospital in Shanghai. It is located near the East part of Renji Hospital. It is affiliated to the School of Medicine from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It was founded in 1998. Mrs Hillary Clinton, at the time the First Lady of the USA and Ms Zuo Huanchen, former Vice Mayor of Shanghai, attended the opening ceremony.

The Medical Center announced yesterday that a baby boy, suffering from a rare birth defect affecting his skull successfully underwent a surgical procedure made possible by 3D Printing. The 8-month-old baby was born with craniosynostosis, a rare skull problem that result in an abnormally shaped head.The irregular skull shape in craniosynostosis can cause persistent headaches, learning difficulties, eye problems and other symptoms. Most symptoms develop in later childhood.


How 3D Printing help the surgeon?

Medical staff used 3D-printing technology to create an exact model of his skull to allow surgeons to fully plan the procedure in advance of making the first incision.

The surgery was conducted on May 21 and the boy was discharged yesterday with a normal head shape and facial features, and his brain is expected to develop normally.

The boy, from east China’s Jiangsu Province, was diagnosed with the condition, which affects six babies out of every 10,000, right after birth. It can affect brain function and cause developmental delays, seizures and even death.

Shanghai Children’s Medical Center’s Dr Bao Nan said: “Thanks to 3D-printing technology, we were able to create a model of the patient’s skull beforehand, allowing us to make a detailed surgical plan beforehand.

“We also measured his parents’ facial and head data to help design the face with family features.”

Medical surgeons are turning to 3D Printing more often to help them preparing difficult operations that can save lives when successful. With the technology becoming easier to use we believe that 3D Printing will become a regular tool for any surgeon in the near future.