Baby Gabriel’s Brain Is Replicated By 3D Printing To Aid His Surgery

Last summer, Erin Mandeville was buying medicine for her five-month-old infant, Gabriel, when she became concerned, as she noticed his eyes roll back a number of times in quick succession. This was to be the first of Gabriel’s many epileptic episodes of infantile spasms that would follow.

The doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital tried every route and medicine to help Gabriel, as his seizures progressed aggressively. Doctors suggested a hemispherectomy, advanced surgery in which one cerebral hemisphere – literally half of the brain – is removed or disabled. With such intrusive and vital surgery ahead, the doctors looked to 3D printing to reduce the surgical risk, and Gabriel was to be the very first infant whose brain would be replicated by a 3D printer.

Dr. Joseph Madsen, director of the epilepsy program at Boston Children’s explained that a hemispherectomy is “one of the most challenging operations in paediatric epilepsy surgery. This is a printed version that the surgeon can hold, cut, manipulate, and look for things.” Dr. Peter Weinstock, director of the Simulator Program added that the: “surgical preparation via simulation allows surgeons to hit the ground a lot faster. We can’t be prepared for every possibility, but we can chop off a large number of complications.” … (Read more)