World’s first life-saving 3D printed kidney changing the game for surgical operations

World’s first life-saving 3D printed kidney changing the game for surgical operations
© iStock/yodiyim

At this years SXSW event, the 3D printed kidney took the spotlight, highlighting the technology behind the procedure and demonstrating the future of complex surgical operations.

The 3D printed kidney used to aid a world-first, life-saving operation took the spotlight at this year’s SXSW in Texas, USA, and the technology behind it is set to change the future of how surgeons plan for intricate surgical operations.

A 3D printed kidney may be the salvation patients need

There are 100,000 patients on the kidney transplant list in the USA alone, with just 21,000 donor organ kidneys available for transplant in the USA.

Someone is added to the kidney transplant list every 14 minutes and 13 people die each day waiting for a kidney transplant in the USA.

Delve into the world of complex surgical operations

The surgeon behind the operation explained how a 3D printed replica of a patient’s kidney was created to allow the surgical team to safely plan an operation to extract the kidney with a tumour, remove the benign tumour, & transplant the tumour-free kidney to the patient’s 22-year-old daughter.

The life-saving collaboration between Belfast City Hospital’s Dr. Tim Brown and medical 3D printing firm, axial3D, was a world-first operation, and a successful one at that.

The use of 3D printing software in medicine has increased over the past few years, thanks to the rise of more affordable 3D printing technology.

However, the future of surgery is changing, thanks to the pioneering technology highlighted at SXSW this year. Now, with the help of artificial intelligence, surgeons are finding it even easier to utilise the technology, eradicating labour-intensive tasks and making it faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D printed models for patient education and surgical planning.

The SXSW panel discussion could not have fallen during a better week to highlight the importance of Kidney Donation. Not only is it #LivingDonorWeek and #NationalKidneyMonth, but the NHS is also set to reach a milestone for the 1,000th living kidney transplant this week.

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