A kidney transplant is a very sensitive operation and patients need to be compatible so that the organ recipient will not reject the donor organ. 3D printing paved the way for surgeons to be able to transplant an adult kidney to a toddler recipient.
In Northern Ireland, a 3-year old toddler is the first child in the world to survive a kidney transplant using adult kidneys. The toddler suffered from heart failure which had dire consequences on her kidneys as they were robbed of oxygen. Instead of settling with regular kidney dialysis, her parents decided to have her undergo a kidney transplant.
As stated by Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation, the kidney transplant was the first of its kind as it uses 3D printing to aid the transplant. The doctors used 3D printing technology to create a model of the patient’s abdomen. They also created a model of the donor’s kidney –the patient’s father –to see how everything fits. This minimizes the risks involved in the transplant.
Transplant specialist Pankaj Chandak noted that the surgery is quite complex thus the use of 3D printing technology helped surgeons plan ahead of time to increase the success of the operation and minimize the risk to the patient and donor during the surgery.
The operation was a complete success and doctors are excited to use this technology to treat different conditions, as well as help doctors, plan their course of action before the actual surgery. 3D printing has definitely made its way to mainstream medicine.