No one knows a child's heart like SickKidsWe teach surgeons to fix hearts by making them.
3-D printing is here. Yes, you can now make a 3-D bobblehead of yourself. But SickKids cardiac radiologist Dr. Shi-Joon Yoo, and MRI technologist Omar Thabit, had a more revolutionary, and life-saving, application in mind for the technology. They decided to 'print' babies' hearts, using diagnostic imaging as their blueprint, to give surgeons a new learning tool. At first, the hearts were hard plastic. Although each still takes a day to print, they're now soft. And while not quite the same as real tissue, they're an effective medium in which surgeons can see, and operate on, a variety of congenital heart defects.
When 'practice' surgery is performed on a printed heart, "If there's a problem, no problem," says Dr. Glen Van Arsdell, Head of Cardiovascular Surgery at SickKids, who, with Dr. Yoo, recently welcomed 11 surgeons from across Canada - and around the globe, from Chile to Norway - to SickKids for what they call 'HOST': Hands-On Surgical Training.