Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, part of Miami Children’s Health System, has acquired a 3D printer to support pediatric cardiac surgery and clinical research.
The hospital’s use of three-dimensional printing technology has proven to be instrumental in creating surgical solutions for children with complex congenital heart defects, who had been considered to be inoperable using conventional imaging techniques.
Nicklaus Children’s has teamed with Stratasys Ltd., a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, and Advanced RP, a 3D printing and rapid prototyping provider, to bring this technology to the patients and families of South Florida and beyond. The Objet Eden260VS is one of the newest 3D printers on the market and most versatile of its kind.
After extensive experimentation and background research, Chelsea Balli, biomedical engineer for the Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, devised the optimal 3D printing strategy to create pediatric heart models for surgical planning.
“This printing strategy allows the cardiac team to create life-sized heart models rapidly, using textures and colors that closely approximate human tissues. The printer was also designed to utilize water soluble support materials, which rapidly dissolve in a warm bath, leaving the heart team with perfectly clean and accurate heart models,” Balli said.
“These life-sized three-dimensional models enable us to hold and manipulate the smallest arteries, veins and valves of the heart, and envision and plan complex repairs. We intend to measure the impact of this technology on our surgical precision and outcomes,” said Dr. Redmond Burke, director of Cardiovascular Surgery for the Heart Program.
“3D printing allows us to view the heart better than any photographic image.” said Dr. Juan Carlos Muniz, director of Cardiac MRI for the Heart Program. “Having this technology at our fingertips opens doors to new treatment methods for the patients and families we serve. The possibilities are endless.”
Most recently, the Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s turned to 3D printing to create a heart model for pre-surgical planning on a child born with TAPVC, a complex heart anomaly.
For information about Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, visit online at www.mch.com.