Original news release was issued by Intermountain Healthcare.
There are medical cases, in which doctors will accept any help they can get. One such case happened in Utah with Linda Green, who sufferred from a cancerous tumor in a complicated spot by one of her kindeys. The precarious location of the tumor – near an artery, veins, and the ureter – has perplexed many doctors, until Green has met Jay Bishoff from the Intermountain Medical Centre in Murray, who came with an ingenious interdisciplinary solution.
He 3D-printed a model of the kidney to study the operation in unprecedented detail. Thanks to the model, doctors were able to maneuver around those sensitive areas and successfully remove the tumor and ultimately save the patient’s kidney.
Bishoff, and radiologist Talmage Shill, MD, prepared CT scans to produce a 3D rendering of Green’s kidney using technology at the Intermountain Transformation Lab, a facility that is the only one of it’s kind in the Intermountain West. Transformation Lab specialists Cory Smith and Billy Prows worked with Dr. Bishoff and Dr. Shill to render the CT scans for 3D printing. The team rendered and printed the model in two halves, so Dr. Bishoff could examine exactly how the tumor attached to the kidney. This is how he found a small nub that extended up into a pocket where the kidney collects urine.
“Without the 3-D model, the visual images of the CT scans would not have allowed us to identify this nub prior to the surgery,” he said. “The 3D printing technology allowed us to prepare a more complete plan for the patient’s surgery, show the patient the complexities of the procedure and what would be done during surgery to remove the tumor and save the kidney.”
Dr. Bishoff not only used the model to prepare for the surgery, but also brought it into the operating room to reference during the procedure. Through the multi-disciplinary team’s efforts, they managed to remove the tumor and save Green’s kidney.
“We’re giving doctors additional visual tools to see the anatomy in a different way,” said Smith. “In the transformation lab we talk about reimagining imaging — it’s the evolution of imaging.”
“While this technology is in its infancy, it is a big step forward in using new technologies like 3D printing to improve patient care,” Dr. Bishoff said.