Christchurch surgeons are using 3D printing to save babies’ lives.

A team from Christchurch hospital has developed a model of a baby’s chest to train surgeons for complicated keyhole procedures, in particular Oesophageal Atresia, a congenital abnormality which affects one in 4000 babies.

Christchurch Hospital’s Clinical Director of Paediatric Surgery Professor Spencer Beasley says it’s really hard for young surgeons to train in keyhole surgery on babies.

“You’ve actually only got a space of about a matchbox to do the surgery in, and it takes quite a bit of skill and practice before you can do the complexity of the operation safely.”

Beasley says the idea is they can teach surgeons on the models and monitor their skill levels before they operate on babies.

“The idea of this simulator is that we can teach these surgeons to do the operation without having to use any live patients.”

Beasley says they use data from CT scans to make the models as realistic as possible.

Source: Newstalk ZB

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