A 3D printer helped this three-year-old get a new kidney.
Dexter Clark has a condition called posterior urethral valve, which meant that he needed a kidney transplant to maintain proper urinary function. His father, Brendan, wanted to donate one of his kidneys, but there was a possibility it was going to be too big for his son.
Doctors weren’t sure if the surgery would be possible, so they asked the 3D printing company Stratasys to help. The company was able to print a 3D model of Brendan’s kidney and Dexter’s abdomen, using materials with properties similar to those body parts. Doctors could then attempt the surgery on the model to see if the procedure could work and they found very positive results.
“When we represented this to the surgical team having seen this model and seen the size of the kidney, they felt that this operation was feasible, and it would be, obviously, you know, we have to make sure it doesn’t compromise the blood supply to the actual kidney after we closed the abdomen but essentially, we felt that this operation was quite feasible based on this model,” stated transplant registrar Pankaj Chandak.
The procedure was a success and Dexter has only been sick once since the surgery. Thanks to 3D printing, he can grow up with fewer complications.