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Seattle Children’s Hospital Uses Stratasys 3D Printing For Advanced Surgeries

Published on August 10, 2021 by Mikahila L.
Seattle Children's Hospital is employing Stratasys 3D printing to map out complex surgeries

Modern medicine regularly relies on the application of the latest technologies. In the past several months alone, 3D printing has helped save lives across the globe via various medical applications. So, it’s not surprising to find that 3D printing is being used to save children’s lives and advance the course of pediatrics. One of the top Children’s Hospitals in America, Seattle Children’s Hospital has been employing Stratasys Digital Anatomy 3D printer to plan and practice complex surgeries in order to perform safe and advanced procedures in the operating room for patients with rare conditions.

Despite coming under recent criticism, throughout its 100-year history, Seatle Children’s has achieved world renown for its patient-centered care. Thanks to 3D printing, Seatle Children’s Hospital is able to create exact models of each patient’s particular case and disease. The patients are able to visually see what they have been diagnosed with as their physician explains the surgical procedure and medical plan.

Kaalan Johnson, MD with 3D printed airway and patient’s mother. (Photo Credit: Stratasys)

Digital Anatomy 3D Printer

Many patients at Seattle Children’s have benefited from the Stratasys Digital Anatomy™ printer which is capable of creating anatomical models that mimic the feel and properties of actual tissue. As a result, the printer has enabled physicians to print patient-specific models with life-like properties, helping the surgical team with research and training. “The more opportunities that we’re able to utilize, to expand our horizons through the applications of technology, including 3D printing, the closer we’re moving to the finish line. And we’re making these things easier that has traditionally been very challenging and riskier to accomplish. We are making these situations become more favorable and the outcomes better for kids.” Kaalan Johnson, MD, and director of Seattle Children’s Aerodigestive Program, specializing in the treatment of children who have complex upper airway breathing and swallowing problems.

In addition to the Digital Anatomy 3D printer, Stratasys materials such as the TissueMatrix™, GelMatrix™, and BoneMatrix™ can be used to create cardiac, vascular, and orthopedic 3D printing applications. An example of the Digital Anatomy™ 3D Printer application is its use in the replication of the exact airway of an infant — including the recreation of the biomechanical properties. The 3D-printed airway allowed for precision in a surgery that left no room for error. “That very first step of dividing the windpipe is something you can’t walk back from,” Johnson said. The surgeons reviewed this case the night before the operation, practicing on the tiny 3D models with everyone leaving prepared for the big day — which went off without a hitch. You can read more about this medical case study HERE.

Stratasys digital anatomy 3D printer

Digital Anatomy software and materials realistically mimic bone and tissue. (Photo Credit: Stratasys)

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Cover Photo Credit: Stratasys

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