Liesbeth Kemel April 6, 2016

Specialist spine surgeons at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool used medical 3D Printing in preparation for a life-changing surgery. The patient in question was an eight-year-old from Wales with kyphoscoliosis, a complex congenital spinal problem. The surgeons modeled and printed her spine in 3D, giving them a much better oversight for the procedure.

3D-printed spine model to prepare for kyphoscoliosis surgery
Courtesy of Alder Hey Children's Hospital

A life-size 3D-printed spine model

To visualize the complex kyphoscoliosis surgery, they approached 3D Printing bureau 3D LifePrints and medical 3D Printing expert Materialise to order a 3D-printed model of the spine, based on a CT scan of the young patient. The CT scan data was then converted into a 3D-printable format and a life-size, plastic replica of the patient’s spine was created.

Top surgeons of Alder Hey Jai Trivedi, Neil Davidson and Colin Bruce, performed the procedure. Alder Hey is among the first children’s hospitals in the UK that is applying this technology. And it isn’t only the hospital’s orthopaedic department that uses medical 3D Printing, but also the cardiac, craniofacial and radiology teams have started using the technology for training and communication between doctors and patients.

Innovating healthcare technology

The Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the University of Liverpool joined forces in March 2016 and have begun work on a dedicated research, education and innovation center. Called ‘Alder Hey in the Park’, the facility is an innovation hub designed to improve healthcare and surgery outcomes through the use of technology; 3D Printing is just one of the many wonderful projects they will be implementing in the center.

Subscribe to our blog to receive regular updates on Medical 3D Printing!