2D Ultrasound Vs 3D and 4D Ultrasound
Better Than Ultrasound – a 3D Model of a Living Fetus
3D printing technology can produce an exact model of a living fetus. It helped save the life of baby Kieran.
By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
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Sanjay Gupta, MD, Everyday Health:You may have an ultrasound image of your child from before he or she was born. Ultrasound was a game changer for doctors, allowing us to see a living fetus inside the womb.
But there’s an even more exciting technology available now: 3D printing. That’s right, a life-size 3D model of a living, unborn baby. That technology helped save the life of this little girl, Kieran Veitz.
Joseph Dearani, MD, Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon, Mayo Clinic:She had probably one of the, if not the, most rare congenital heart defects.
Dr. Gupta:It’s called ectopia cordis. Her heart was developing outside the chest wall.
Caitlin Veitz, Mother:We didn’t have any idea that anything like that could happen. It was scary.
Dr. Gupta: She would need an incredibly complex surgery to survive, involving teams of specialists working together. Dr. Jane Matsumoto is a radiologist who helped the surgeons see in advance exactly what they would be dealing with.
Jane Matsumoto, MD, Mayo Clinic:The big question here is, Where was the defect?
Dr. Gupta:To help guide the surgeons, Dr. Matsumoto created a life-size model of the fetus using 3D printing.
Christopher Moir, MD, Pediatric Surgeon, Mayo Clinic:This is life-size, one-to-one, exact detail.
Dr. Gupta:The model showed Kieran’s liver and intestines were also outside the body, which changed the plan. Fixing all at once would put too much stress on the baby. The heart was the priority.
Sixty doctors and nurses from 12 different teams came together on the day of the surgery. It started with a partial cesarean delivery. Kieran remained connected to her mother through the umbilical cord for the first part of the operation. About five hours later, she was on her own, with her heart back inside her chest where it belongs.
At five months, she was out of the pediatric ICU. At six months, her growth was on track with any baby girl her age. Most babies with this birth defect don’t survive. Kieran will still need more surgeries, but she is well on her way.
Caitlin Veitz:The possibilities for her are endless.
Dr. Gupta:With Everyday Health, I’m Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Be well.
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