Pediatric heart surgery gets boost from Stratsys 3-D printer

As 3-D printing gains traction in the surgical realm, 3-D printing company Stratasys ($SSYS) is touting the benefits of the technology through a success story of a procedure carried out with its devices.

The Minneapolis-based company lent its 3-D printer to Nicklaus Children's Hospital to create a model of a young patient's heart prior to surgery. Mia Gonzalez, a 5-year-old patient, had a rare heart formation called double aortic arch, where a vascular ring wraps around either the trachea or esophagus and restricts airflow.

To make the duplicate of Gonzelez's heart, the surgical team fed data scanned from the patient into a 3-D printer, creating a model that reflects the heart's "intracacies, specific features and fine detail," Scott Rader, Stratasys' GM of Medical Solutions, said in a statement. Surgeons were then able to walk through the procedure, vetting out options to prep for surgery and reduce complications.

"The challenge is a surgical one, how do you divide this double aortic arch and save her life without hurting her," Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, part of Miami Children's Health System, said in a statement. "By making a 3-D model of her very complex aortic arch vessels, we were able to further visualize which part of her arch should be divided to achieve the best physiological result."

The model helped the surgeons perform an "extremely successful surgery," Stratasys said in a statement, with Gonzalez recovering quickly postprocedure.

Meanwhile, Stratasys continues to refine its technology and boost its offerings in the 3-D printing realm. Last month, the company rolled out a 3-D printer for in-house production of dental devices, including dentures, crown, bridge and prosthetic stone models. The device includes three printing materials and two modes, one for high quality and anther for high speed, allowing labs to rely less on outsourcing for model production.

"The introduction of the compact, versatile Objet30 Dental Prime 3-D Printer continues Stratasys' commitment to providing a variety of solutions to meet the different needs of dental and orthodontic labs, small and large," Steffen Muller, Stratasys' GM of dental solutions, said in a statement. "This addition to our entry-level desktop family brings superior-quality 3D printing available to all dental labs who want to provide competitive digital dentistry services to their clients."

- read the statement

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