How 3D printing saves Lifes George Lepska

3D printing, which is new to technology saved 5 year old Mia Gonzales from death at Miami, Florida in 2015. Nicklaus Children's Hospital was given a 3D printer that can print exact organ replicas. They fix her heart with technology.

How 3D Printing Helped Perform Surgery

According to CNN, Mia Gonzales is a 5 year old girl but in the first 3½ years of her life she would have to miss daycare and dance lessons because of constant pneumonia and colds. But when she could play her endurance for her breathing was very low. She took multiple asthma medications but that did not really help.

After about 10 different hospitals they came to the conclusion that there was a malformation in her aorta. The doctors came to the conclusion that she would need an operation to close off the part of her aorta that was putting pressure on her windpipe and making it hard to breathe, swallow and get rid of phlegm when she got a cold. But Mia’s defect was very complex. Nothing good would have happened without 3D printing.

Earlier in 2015 Nicklaus Children's Hospital got a 3D printer. This 3D printer makes exact replicas of organs. Surgeons can even do practice surgeries with the printed organs. This allows the hospital to plan the surgery in advanced so they don’t mess up. So Mia got scanned by a MRI or a CT scanner and then they could make organs the exact size of her. Dr. Redmond Burke, director of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, meditated on the model of Mia's heart for a couple of weeks. Them it came to him how to exactly do this surgery correctly. Instead of making an incision on the left side for this type of heart defect, called double aortic arch, he should cut into Mia's chest from the right. By 3D printing Burke could correct and perfect the surgery and he made sure that no mistakes would happen during the actual thing.

Mia Gonzales holding her heart replica

Burke has operated on 25 more patients with heart problems after Mia and he said

"it's very unlikely I will ever call someone inoperable (now) without holding a model in my hand,"

This is important because this quote says without 3D printing the surgerys would be too complex to do without scanning and replicating his or her heart. 3D printing has saved those kids lives.

How Gracia the Toucan Got a New Beak

3D printing also saves things other than humans. 3D printing saved a toucans life. According to Claire Scott, Gracia the toucan was attacked by a group of boys messing around with it. The boys hit it with a stick and a big chunk of the upper beak was torn off. Since the beak was torn off the toucan was no longer able to eat food or defend itself. Shortly after the incident the bird was taken to Rescate Animal ZooAve, a rescue organization that specializes in the rehabilitation of injured wildlife. With 3D printing you can make whatever 3D model you want. So Rescate Animal ZooAve printed an artificial beak for the toucan. They could get the exact measurements by scanning the remaining upper beak the animal had. They got the exact dimensions easily unlike building it out of a different material. Now the toucan was able to eat and defend itself thanks to 3D printing. The toucan also saved lives of other animals. Right after the attack the president of Costa Rica was told what happened. President Luis Guillermo Solís made a bill about animal cruelty. The law is still pending in the Legislative assembly but it is soon to be passed. So 3D printing is good because it is very useful towards helping animals.


How Alex Got a New Arm

According to Mr. Alfano, the STEM teacher at CMS

“3D printing is valid for hospital use because they made it so they can make functionable and movable joints”.

This quote from Mr. Alfano is meaningful because it says that 3D printing can easily make joints to help people move. It can replace a body parts. This quote also has to do with the story of a six year old boy getting a prosthetic 3D printed arm.

According to Daily News, Alex is a 6 year old boy born without a right arm. His family was struggling to find a way to afford a prosthetic arm. Then his family stumbled on a group of Florida students that could 3D print a prosthetic arm for a fraction of a price of a prosthetic.

Alex was given a prosthetic arm for just 350 dollars! Most prosthetic arms that hospitals use today cost as much as 40,000 dollars! According to Alex

“I feel good. I feel everything good, even my robot arm,”

“It’s not even heavy.”

Thanks to 3D printing they made prosthetics that cost 0.00875% the cost of normal prosthetics.

Alex shaking hands with his new 3D printed prosthetic arm

3D printing helps people and even animals. Without making a model of Mia’s defected heart the surgery sould have gone terribly wrong. And since Gracia the toucan got a new 3D printed upper beak he can defend himself and eat. 6 year old Alex got a cheap prosthetic arm for a fraction of the price thanks to 3D printing. Without 3D printing the Helping people and animals would be more challenging.

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