Intermountain surgeons save patient's kidney with 3D printing during dicey operation

Doctors used a 3D rendering of Linda Green’s kidney to determine the best way to maneuver around arteries and remove a tumor.
By Bernie Monegain
10:43 AM
Intermountain 3D printing

Doctors at Intermountain Medical Center printed and used a 3D kidney model to save a patient’s organ during a recent complicated tumor-removal.

The 3D model made it possible for the surgeons to study the patient’s kidney and figure how to best remove the tumor that was positioned near vital arteries and veins. With the 3D-model of the organ, they were better able to maneuver around those areas, remove the tumor and save the patient’s kidney.

The patient's case was particularly precarious because her tumor was in what doctors called the “business section” of the kidney – near an artery, veins and the ureter, Intermountain doctors noted.

Intermountain Medical Center Urological Institute director Jay Bishoff, MD, and radiologist Talmage Shill, MD, prepared CT scans to produce a 3D rendering of Green’s kidney using technology at the Intermountain Transformation Lab.

[Also: Intermountain, Stanford join forces on Oncology Precision Network]

Transformation Lab specialists Cory Smith and Billy Prows worked with Bishoff and Shill to create the 3D image and print the model in two halves so Bishoff could examine exactly how the tumor attached to the kidney. 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,” Bishoff said in a statement.

Bishoff explained that doctors uses the 3D printed model to prepare a complete plan for the surgery, show the patient the complexities of the procedure and what would be done during surgery to remove the tumor, and then ultimately to save the kidney.

“While this technology is in its infancy, it is a big step forward in using new 3D printing to improve patient care,” Bishoff said.

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