3D printer used to reconstruct a baby's skull:
In order to treat Gabriel, physicians at Stony Brook University decided to try a completely new kind of operation – one that would cut down on the time the infant spent in the operating room.
Through a collaboration with Medical Modeling Inc. in Golden, Colo., Dr. Michael Egnor and Dr. Elliot Duboys were able to virtually plan the entire surgery beforehand. Additionally, the company created 3D printed before-and-after models of Gabriel’s skull for the surgeons, so they could accurately predict how the operation’s results would look.
“The first thing we do, after we make a diagnosis, is a CT scan of the baby’s head… and we sent the CT image to [Medical Modeling],” Egnor, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, told FoxNews.com. “Using a computer program, they simulated the baby’s skull with the symmetry and dimensions it should have. Then the company manufactured these templates and sent them to us, so we had the exact measurements.”
Knowing exactly how the skull should look after the procedure, 6-month-old Gabriel was brought in for surgery and placed him under anesthesia. In order to get to the deformed bone, the surgeons made an incision across the top of Gabriel’s forehead, exposing the entire front of the skull and eye sockets.
Through the use of a special saw, the surgeons removed four pieces of deformed bone and made special cuts in the skull to help reshape and restructure the baby’s head. In an attempt to make the remodeling more precise, Egnor and Duboys utilized the 3D printed templates provided by Medical Modeling, which helped to highlight where the surgeons needed to make their incisions.
“They sent us cutting templates, which were pieces of 3D modeling that we were able to place on the child’s skull during surgery,” Duboys, associate professor of surgery at Stony Brook Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “And then we just traced where the cuts should be on the skull, almost like a stencil… And then we know where to cut.”