3D-printed heart can be beneficial for complex heart surgery

A presentation at the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging EuroEcho-imaging 2014 conference.

shutterstock_171523613Congenital heart disease often needs a complex and invasive surgical procedure to create a well-functioning heart. Trained Cardiothoracic surgeons have to plan an adequately approach and technique to operate safe and repair defects. Currently, these plans are based on CT- and MRI-scans made pre-operatively. Despite these modern scans can show a perfect anatomically reproduction of the heart, it still remains a 2D-picture. With 2D pictures, surgeons still have to visualize a 3D-picture during their preparation and even during the actual procedure.

At the European Association of Cardiovascular imaging’s EuroEcho-imaging conference, prof. Patrizio Lancellotti showed a new technique to create a 3D model. 3D-printers are a hot item in recent technological developments and are also introduced for medical purposes. With the 3D-printing technique, it is possible to create a perfect anatomical model of the human heart from the CT- and MRI-scans made before. These 3D models can help surgeons to plan their procedures, even better possibly leading to a better result and less complications. The 3D-models can even help to discuss the disease and interventions with the patients or parents of children their selves.

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