Researchers from MIT and Boston Children's Hospital have discovered a way to create 3D-printed heart models that enable surgeons to practice on a particular patient's heart before the real surgery.
The process of creating these heart models starts with an MRI that takes multiple scans at various angles -- essentially building a blueprint of the inner valves and ventricles. These parts can vary in shape and size from person to person, especially in children who are at different points of their growth. Therefore, every surgery is one-of-a-kind and without these models, there is only one shot at them.
What used to take a health technician 10 hours, the new algorithm speeds up by seven, designating the boundaries between each part of the organ. The finished models allow surgeons to practice beforehand, cutting down the time of surgeries and therefore increasing their success rates.