London: An Indian-origin surgeon in the UK has pulled off a complex kidney transplant on a three-year-old girl using 3D printing, believed to be among the world’s first such operations. Dr Pankaj Chandal came up with the idea of using 3D printouts to help with the highly complex transplant on Lucy Boucher, who received a kidney from her father.
“Our exciting new use of 3D printed models to help plan highly complex kidney transplant surgery in children brings all sorts of important advantages for our patients and the surgical team,” Chandal said. “The most important benefit is patient safety. The 3D-printed models allow informative, hands-on planning, ahead of the surgery with replicas that are the next best thing to the actual organs themselves. Thus, surgeons are better placed than before to prepare for the operation and to assess what surgical approach will offer the greatest chance of a safe and successful transplant,” Chandal said. Three dimensional replicas of Lucy’s abdomen and her father Chris’ kidney were made before surgery.
The printed models helped surgeons at Guys and St Thomas’ Hospital in London plan how to put an adult-sized kidney into the body of a toddler during the procedure, carried out in November last year. “We found it amazing that we could see these incredibly detailed models of Chris’s kidney and Lucy’s abdomen. The transplant is life-changing for Lucy,” her mother said. Lucy had suffered heart failure at four weeks old and her kidneys subsequently failed. She was put on kidney dialysis until she was old enough to go through with a transplant. Lucy is now an active and healthy girl.