Surgery with Some Help from a 3D-Printed Replica

Recently, Boston Children’s Medical Center and the New York Times published about a nearly-2-year-old toddler and documented her journey to receiving amazing medical attention for a rare craniofacial anomaly called a Tessier facial cleft. I highly recommend reading the NYT’s article and watching Boston Children’s videos of this case.

In these pieces, you can see how Dr. Meara visualized his surgical approach by using a replica of the toddler’s skull that was made based on the patient’s medical imaging data. The team at Boston Children’s was able to do this thanks to Materialise’s Mimics Innovation Suite software.

With the 3D-printed model, Dr. Meara was able to test out his approach. “When you’re dealing with such a unique and complex abnormality, it’s really hard to conceptualize exactly what you need to do during surgery,” explains Dr. Meara. “The ability to physically move those segments is huge; otherwise, you’re doing it for the first time in the operating room.”

By physically holding a model in his hand, Dr. Meara was able to better prepare for unique, complex operations: “It saves a lot of the thinking in the operating room. When we get there and the patient is in front of us, it’s not then that we’re using our brain power to decide what we want to do. We really had that plan going into surgery, and that makes the whole process quicker, more efficient and safer for the patient.”

This is just more proof that this technology can lead to a better and healthier world, from helping babiesto seniors and everyone in between.

Join our webinar with Dr. Sanjay Prabhu, Director, Radiology Advanced Image Analysis Lab and Co-Director, SIMPeds3D Print Service. Here you can learn how Boston Children’s Hospital Simulator Program is leading the way with their extensive 3D printing program. Catch it live on March 4th at 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EST (7:00 – 8:00 pm CET)!

Find out more about solutions like this 3D-printed replica on our biomedical engineering website.

Disclaimer: Materialise is unfamiliar with the 3D-printed model used in this case. When evaluating a 3D-printed device which is intended for the use in the diagnosis, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, where applicable, ensure that the manufacturer is registered or cleared with the FDA for distribution in the United States. Materialise offers its anatomical bone models registered medical devices to assist in pre-clinical planning of complex cases.


Josh Sandberg

Josh Sandberg is the President of Ortho Spine Partners and Partner for The De Angelis Group. He also serves as Co-Founder and Editor of OrthoSpineNews.

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