Health In Focus
  • Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women
  • 3D organ printing technology is the next step in imaging
  • Doctors at Intermountain Medical Center used 3D printing technology to save a patient's organ during complicated kidney-removal procedure.
A team of doctors and researchers from Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake city worked together to save a woman's kidney during a complicated tumor removal surgery using 3D printing technology. The 3D printed kidney helped them view some vital details and structures involved, thereby plan the surgery to maneuver around the sensitive structures. It also enabled them to rehearse the surgery prior to the actual procedure.
3D Organ Printing Saves Patientís Kidney During Complicated Tumor Removal
3D Organ Printing Saves Patientís Kidney During Complicated Tumor Removal

Save or Remove the Kidney? - The Big Question

Kidney cancers have become very common in both men and women. As most of these tumors are entangled between the vital structures like arteries, veins and the filtering apparatus of the kidney, the only way to remove the tumor is to remove the complete kidney due to risks involved in operating around the crucial areas.

One such tumor was detected in a patient named Linda Green, where the tumor was found to be involving the arteries, veins and the ureter. The tumor was detected 8 yrs ago and she was warned about the need for cancer surgery which included removal of the kidney if the tumor grows.

Almost 8yrs the doctors decided not to operate and remove the tumor as the renal function was normal and there was no activity in the tumor mass. But the latest images taken in the month of March during a routine follow-up showed that the tumor had doubled its size.

Since Green anticipated the removal of the kidney ever since when she was diagnosed with renal cancer 8yrs back, her imaging report made her wait for the same news from the doctors. But the doctors at Intermountain Medical Center had a better idea.

3D Printing Can Visualize Nonvisualized Details in a Scan

The Intermountain transformation lab had state of the art 3D printing lab. This one of a kind lab had the facility to use the scan images from a patient and make a 3D model of the organ showing up to even the smallest details.

Jay Bishoff, Director of Intermountain Medical Center Urological Institute along with radiologist Talmage Shill,† studied the patient's computed tomography scan completely. With the help of Transformation Lab specialists, Cory Smith (senior project manager) and Billy Prows they were able to 3D print the kidney along with the tumor using the CT scan images.

They were able to print the 3D model into 2 halves so that Jay Bishoff and his team could study the exact position and size of the tumor and the adjacent structure involved with the tumor. These details enabled him to find a small nub of tumor projecting into the pocket where the kidney collects the urine. This small portion of the tumor was not visible in the initial scan images. It also helped him determine the best way to remove the tumor, which was amidst the major artery and vein.

"It's important to try to save kidneys in people every chance we can," Bishoff said. "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," he added. He used this model to study and prepare for the surgery. He was also able to explain to the patient how complicated the tumor is and the complexities involved in removing the tumor due to the vitality of its location.

"Dr. Bishoff was fully intent on saving my kidney, which he did and I appreciate that," Linda Green said. This 3D model of Green's kidney was also used intraoperatively for reference.

Through a multidisciplinary team approach, Dr. Bishoff was able to remove the tumor without any complication and was also able to save the kidney.

3D Organ Printing - Reimaging the Image

"We're giving doctors additional visual tools to see the anatomy in a different way," Smith said. "In the transformation lab we talk about reimagining imaging ó it's the evolution of imaging." Intermountain transformation laboratory is one of the leading labs which puts together the latest technologies and help advance in healthcare practices.†

Jay Bishoff, Director of the Intermountain Urological Institute, stated that though these 3D printing will be very helpful in only very few complicated cases, it is a big step forward and further development could be used to improve patient care.

Reference :
  1. 3D Printed Kidney Saves Patient's Organ
Source: Medindia

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