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Stratasys 3D Printer contributes to heart surgery success

As 3D printers gain traction in the surgical realm, 3D printing company Stratasys is touting the benefits of the technology through a success story of a procedure carried out using one of its devices.

Stratasys allowed Nicklaus Children's Hospital to use one of their 3D printers to create a model of a young patient's heart prior to surgery. Mia Gonzalez, a 5-year-old patient, had a rare heart formation called double aortic arch, where a vascular ring wraps around either the trachea or esophagus and restricts airflow.

To make the duplicate of Gonzelez's heart, the surgical team fed data scanned from the patient into the Stratasys 3D printer, creating a model that reflects the heart's "intracacies, specific features and fine detail," Scott Rader, Stratasys' GM of Medical Solutions, said in a statement. Surgeons were then able to walk through the procedure, vetting out options to prep for surgery and significantly reduce complications.

"The challenge is a surgical one, how do you divide this double aortic arch and save her life without hurting her," Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, part of Miami Children's Health System, said in a statement.

"By making a 3D model of her very complex aortic arch vessels, we were able to further visualize which part of her arch should be divided to achieve the best physiological result."

The model helped the surgeons perform an "extremely successful surgery," Stratasys said in a statement, with Gonzalez making a quick recovery following the procedure.

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