…To facilitate the operation, Kyoto University borrowed a 3D printer from Nagoya City University and printed out full-scale models of the woman’s chest and the left lung. Because locations of bronchi and blood vessels differ between the left and right lungs, the surgeons rehearsed the transplant operation to get an initial idea on how to proceed the transplant before commencing surgery.
The surgery went smoothly. As of May 10, she was discharged from the medical center after having been able to easily walk 10,000 steps in a day.
Of 368 pulmonary transplant cases reported in Japan, living donor transplants account for 40 percent. “The existence of the option of implanting the right lung in the left lung will enable more patients to undergo transplantation,” said Hiroshi Date, a pulmonologist and professor at the hospital.
However further research will be needed to enable other surgeons to perform similar operations.
“More experience and sharing of information will be necessary to generalize the finding,” said Meinoshin Okumura, president of the Japanese Association for Chest Surgery.
3D printing has been used again to help saving people’s life, and it won’t be the last. It is reported that the woman and her husband have now returned to their normal life.
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