Conjoined twins separated with the help of 3d printing


The use of 3D Printing for the healthcare industry is on the rise and with unlimited possibilities of its application in the industry we are sure this is not the last time you are going to see such case studies reported on our website. Today's report comes from China where a team of doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, used 3d scans and 3d printed models to separate a three-month-old conjoined twin brothers.

Conjoined twins separated with the help of 3d printing


The twins were bought into the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital immediately after birth, the doctors knew that the brother have to be separated in order to save their lives. The problem was that these infants were not just jointed at the chest and abdomen, but they also share one liver and its blood vessels (intrahepatic blood vessels).  Any wrong move during the surgery would mean the life of one or in most probably both would be at risk.

Doctor Zheng Shan, the deputy chief of medicine at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University spoke about the complexity of the issue and said "Their body weight is very light, and there is the vessel situation. There could be massive hemorrhaging if the separating portion of the vessels is not precisely located."

To perform this extremely delicate operation the doctors took help from 3D Scanning and 3D Printing. The kids were scanned using ‘Computer aided three dimensional support system for liver surgery’, or CAS. This gave the doctors the opportunity to visualize the interlinked blood vessels in 3 Dimensions and after evaluating the model from every possible angles the doctors decided to simulate the operation using 3d Printed model of the liver.

Conjoined twins separated with the help of 3d printing


After doing a mock operation on the physical 3D Model of the kids liver the doctors could eliminate any chances of error that could occur during the real operation.  The good news is that all the innovative thinking on the doctors part and the use of these models resulted in a successful operation on the conjoined twins.

According to the media release we received from the hospital, the operation lasted for 5 hours and just 30ml of blood had been lost during such a major operation. The three-month-old conjoined twins were successfully separated and with lots of post operation care there is a hope that the kids would be able to lead normal life.

We salute the team of doctors involved in the surgery and to 3D Printing to be able to of such great help to mankind. 



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