3-D printing can correct spina bifida

Daybreak

(WYTV)- We can use imaging and genetic testing today to find birth defects in developing babies.

Combine those techniques with 3-D printing and amazing things happen.

As Jocelyn and Jared Rodriguez prepared to welcome their first child, imaging revealed their baby had spina bifida, a serious spinal defect. Surgeons can correct it in the womb and using 3-D printing with ultrasound images, they fashioned a true to life model of the spine they were going to correct.

“They can see through to see where the nerves propagate through the defect so that they know where to make an incision and where to stay away from nerves,” said Jack Stubbs of Digital Anatomy Solutions.

These precise details help surgeons learn more about the developing baby’s condition and prepare for surgery, reducing the amount of time the fetus is exposed. The models also help explain the procedure to mom and dad.

Surgeons are seeing successful results from this in-utero procedure for spina bifida. Some of the first small patients are now learning to walk on their own, something that spinal bifida would not allow.

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