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Non-Invasive Brain Surgery with the Help of 3D Printing—Successful!

Paige Anne Carter


blog-0290803001413912374.jpgMichael Balzer was a man who was well-versed with 3D printing. He is also the brains behind the site known as “All Things 3D.” He was also the man whose wife was diagnosed with, meningioma, a brain tumor. The news came as a shock to them in late 2013.

With Michael’s background on 3D printing, he wasted no time in creating 3D renderings of his wife’s brain scan. He even urged his wife to go on another CT with contrast to make sure that he had all the needed data to create an exact replica of his wife’s brain. Satisfactorily, the CT scan with contrast provided a more detailed data of his wife’s brain structures and the 3.5-cm meningioma.

Now, the next thing that must be done was to look for a neurosurgeon that was willing to use his 3D printed models to help create a method of brain surgery that’s minimally invasive. This took 3 months. Finally, they were able to narrow their search to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

By the middle of May of 2014, Michael’s wife was undergoing an 8-hour brain surgery. Instead of using the old fashioned way of brain surgery which was to remove 1/3 of her skull leaving her with long-lasting problems like loss of sight on the left eye, loss of smell or taste or all of the above. To make the process minimally invasive, what the surgeon did was to operate through the wife’s upper eyelid.

The results were incredible. As much as 95% of the growth was removed and in just a matter of 3-weeks, Michael’s wife was able to return to her normal life and was in fact already back to work.


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