Pauline Fenton is a 22-year-old woman living in Belfast. She is a mother who has been living with end-stage kidney disease, and has been completely reliant on dialysis. Her situation was not a good one, so her father, William, volunteered to donate one of his kidneys to his daughter. William, 45, was confirmed as a suitable living donor, although he was blood group incompatible. Then a complication was thrown into the plan when it was discovered that William had a potentially cancerous cyst on the kidney he was going to donate.

The cyst would obviously have to be treated before the transplant could occur, and as Pauline needed a new kidney very soon, there was no time to waste. In stepped axial3D, which 3D printed a model of William’s kidney from the CT scans provided by Belfast City Hospital. axial3D recently signed a contract with the National Health Service (NHS) to serve as a provider of 3D printed medical models until 2020, and demand for the models has been huge, so much so that last year the company opened a new facility in Belfast.

“In this case, our donor’s kidney was the best possible option for his daughter’s life saving transplant, so we had to ensure precise and complete excision of the cyst to retrieve maximum healthy tissue for transplantation,” said Consultant Transplant Surgeon Tim Brown. “We planned and rehearsed the surgery precisely, using an exact replica of the donor kidney containing the size and position of cyst, so my team knew the precise procedure required in the operating theatre. This level of insight is just not achievable with standard pre-operative imaging. This father’s gift of life to his daughter proves the benefit of living organ donation but in this case, I’m certain 3D printing also played a part in helping us to give this young mother an improved quality of life and the opportunity to see her child grow up.”

The cyst was successfully removed from William’s kidney, which was transplanted to Pauline. William’s surgery has the distinction of being the first described case of complete excision of a Bosniak 2F renal cyst from a donor kidney without the requirement of revision surgery, and it likely would not have been so successful without the use of a 3D printed model.

“We work with surgeons with the core aim to improve patient outcomes; reduce operating times and ultimately help advance surgical education and planning for the future. We’re proud that our technology can have profound positive impacts on improving the quality and length of patients’ lives and we’re delighted that our work provided significant benefit for this family,” said Daniel Crawford, Founder of axial3D.

“We are delighted to hear that both father and daughter are doing well after their recent operation. Improving patient outcome is at the heart of what we do. It is vital that our amazing surgeons have access to the best and most innovative solutions to support them in planning for very complex procedures. We believe in today’s economy, where cost saving and efficiency is at the forefront of the NHS agenda, 3D printing offers an exciting opportunity for hospitals to reduce costs, elevate care, and most importantly, improve patient outcomes. Now that 3D prints are available via the NHS in Northern Ireland, we look forward to supporting more surgeons and patients with this technology.”

The team at axial3D remain committed to high-quality care bought about via technology, as shown by the company’s recently-established Scientific Advisory Board and applications such as this life-changing and -saving case.

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[Images provided by axial3D]

 

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