3-D Printer Could Change Future of Surgery
By Elizabeth Addesso
Four-year-old Mia Gonzalez had trouble breathing for the first three and a half years of her life. She missed out on daily activities such as dance and preschool, due to frequent colds and pneumonia. She was hospitalized ten times before doctors concluded that Mia suffered from a malformation in her aorta, one of the vessels that pumps blood into the heart. It turned out that her aorta was blocking part of her windpipe, therefore, making it hard to breath. Mia would have to undergo an open heart surgery, one of the hardest surgeries to perform.
"...A disruptive technology which radically changes how we talk to patients, how we prepare for an operation, how we do the operation and how we teach," Dr. Daniel B. Jones stated about the printers. 3-D printers were invented in 1984, but the usage of these extraordinary printers was common in 2012. 3-D printers are unique machines that can print any object programed on a computer. They range from about anywhere from $100k to $450k; the cost varies depending on the quality of the printing. Hospitals use 3-D printers to print replicas of organs and hearts. They use the replicas to perform a practice surgery and to make precise marks on where to cut. In this case, they replicated Mia heart, after taking careful MRI and CT, or a CAT scan (a scan used to see bones, blood, and vessels, and soft tissues by sending a series of X-rays to a computer) to get a detailed picture of Mia’s heart and windpipe. They used the replication to practice her surgery.
They were originally going to cut Mia’s left side of her chest, creating a long narrow scar on the left side. However, the longer cut would also mean a longer recovery time. By using the advanced technology of a 3-D printer, they relocated the cut to the right side of Mia’s chest. The incision was predicted to be much smaller than the previous incision scheduled. The recovery time would be much shorter, pleasing both Mia and her mom.
In the future, they envision using the printer to replicate organs that would replace the human organs completely. However, they do not think this technological advancement will be made until 2025. Doctors are also trying to distribute 3-D printers to medical schools to enhance their medical field curriculum.
Years later after Mia’s open heart surgery, she suffered from less colds. She still got colds, but they were not nearly as severe. But more importantly, she performed her first successful dance recital, and was not short of breath at the end. Thanks to the 3-D printer, her open heart surgery proved how the printer is making surgeries easier.
What amazes me is that the human body can react so quickly and think deeply and do stuff you can’t even imagine. Science of the world is beautiful and what also amazes me is that how many things come from science and how things and objects are made and what things and objects are made up of. Basically everything starts with the science that comes from inside everything. Bottom line: SCIENCE IS EVERYTHING.
What amazes me about science is that everything is connected in some way. If it is the body and all the bones, nerves and muscles or the food chain with the predators, prey, decomposers and producers. I know that everything living lives off of something else and so one thing can’t survive without the other. This amazes me because the life of everything goes around in one gigantic circle!
What amazes me about the human body is how our brain works for very movement and we never think about it. It amazes me that a girl can survive with half a brain. It is amazing that everything is made out of atoms. I find it mind-boggling that we are in the middle of space all alone for all we know. How can giant spheres just be dangling in nowhere while we are sitting here at school? This is what I find amazing.