3D-Printed Heart Model Helps 16-Year-Old Heart Tumor Patient

2 min read

3D-printed, transparent heart model

It’s devastating news when you find out that your grandchild was born with a heart tumor. This was the news that Christine White heard when her grandson, Bradley, was only three. Over the next several years, Bradley had to undergo several open-heart surgeries, including having a defibrillator implanted to protect him from sudden cardiac death. At the age of sixteen, Bradley found himself back at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for yet another procedure to stop the electrical interference caused by the large cardiac tumor. 

The value of a 3D-printed heart model

Looking for additional information on how to best treat Bradley’s tumor, the team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital contacted Materialise to create a 3D-printed replica of Bradley’s heart using the Mimics® Innovation Suite software from his CT scan data. This unique 3D-printed model allowed the physicians to better understand the complex relationship of the tumor — printed in a hard opaque material — and the surrounding anatomical structures — printed in a flexible transparent material. Having the model enabled the team to confidently proceed with an electrophysiology study and catheter ablation over a risky surgical resection of the tumor. 

The model also allowed Bradley and his family to better understand his unique anatomy. “I always thought my tumor was the size of a quarter and didn’t realize how large it was until I saw the [Materialise] model. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen by far. I’m looking forward to showing my friends.” Bradley, now 16 years old, is making the most of his condition and continues to be active in sports, with friends, and in his church. 

“I think 3D printing will clinically take us to the next generation of imaging. This is our future,” says Dr. David Morales, Cardiothoracic Surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. 

Enhance patient care with an anatomical model 

Materialise offers software and services to 3D print personalized anatomical models. In addition, the company offers a library of standard, ready-to-go HeartPrint® Research models in various sizes and materials, from rigid to flexible. 

As a service, Materialise is now providing 3D-printed HeartPrint as a medical device. With this device, you can: 

  • Gain invaluable insights when turning an idea into a functional prototype 
  • Optimize the efficiency of your (pre-)clinical trials 
  • Prepare first-in-human interventions more strategically 
  • Assist in selecting appropriate tools for surgical interventions 

The standard in engineering on anatomy

The Mimics Innovation Suite turned 3D image data into high-quality digital models in an accurate and efficient way. Starting from optical scan, CT, or MRI data, Mimics Innovation Suite offers the most advanced image segmentation, the broadest anatomical measurement options, powerful CAD tools for engineering on anatomy and 3D printing, and accurate model preparation for FEA and CFD. 

  • Provide a highly accurate cardiovascular 3D-printed model in a timely manner 
  • Assist in the pre-surgical planning for the treatment of these complex congenital heart defects 
  • Supplement traditional imaging techniques and confirm the best way forward 


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This case study in a few words



Solutions used

Mimics Innovation Suite 


Why this approach

Preoperative planning 

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