3D-printed kidney helps doctors remove tumor from woman

3D-printed-kidney-helps-doctors-remove-tumor-from-woman.  SALT LAKE CITY, Doctrs combined imaging of a woman’s cancerous kidney with 3D printing technology to create a model of her organ that allowed them to successfully remove a difficult to reach tumor last month.

3-D model of patient’s kidney that was printed to help save the organ during complicated tumor removal by doctors at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Photo by Intermountain Medical Center

Doctors at the Intermountain Medical Center created the model to find the tumor was attached to the woman’s kidney and remove it without having to completely remove her kidney.

Because the tumor was near an artery, veins and the ureter, doctors said they needed to be especially careful not to damage the organ during the complex surgery.

“While this technology is in its infancy, it is a big step forward in using new technologies like 3D printing to improve patient care,” Dr. Jay Bishoff, director of the Intermountain Medical Center Urological Institute, said in a press release.

Radiologists at the medical center took computed tomography scans of Linda Green’s kidney, using the images to 3D print a model of her kidney, doing so in two halves so Bishoff could see how and where the tumor attached to the kidney and better plan how to remove it.

Identifying an area with a nub extending into a pocket where the kidney collects urine, which Bishoff said would not have been possible without the model, the doctors were able to successfully remove the tumor and save Green’s kidney.

“We’re giving doctors additional visual tools to see the anatomy in a different way,” said Cory Smith, an imaging specialist at the Intermountain Transformation Lab, which produced the 3D rendering used to produce the model of Green’s kidney. “In the transformation lab we talk about reimagining imaging — it’s the evolution of imaging.”

By Stephen Feller