3D Printed Kidney Grabs the Spotlight at SXSW 2019

The 3D printed kidney used to aid a world-first, life-saving operation took the spotlight at this year’s SXSW, and the technology behind it is set to change the future of how surgeons plan for complex operations.

The surgeon behind the operation described how a 3D printed replica of a patient’s kidney was created to allow the surgical team to safely plan an operation to extract the kidney with a tumour, remove the benign tumour, & transplant the tumour-free kidney to the patient’s 22-year-old daughter.

The life-saving collaboration between Belfast City Hospital’s Dr. Tim Brown and medical 3D printing firm, axial3D, was a world-first operation – and a successful one at that.

AI-Powered 3D Printing

The session, ‘ Tumours, Transplants and Technology: AI for Life ’, also discussed the future of 3D printing and AI in healthcare.

The use of 3D printing in medicine has increased over the past few years, thanks to the rise of cheaper 3D printing technology. However, the future of surgery is changing, thanks to the pioneering technology highlighted at SXSW this year.

Now, with the help of Artificial Intelligence, surgeons are finding it even easier to utilize the technology -eliminating labour-intensive tasks and making it faster and cheaper and more accurate 3D printed models for patient education and surgical planning.

The SXSW panel discussion could not have fallen during a better week to highlight the importance of Kidney Donation. Not only is it #LivingDonorWeek and #NationalKidneyMonth, but the NHS is also set to reach a milestone for the 1,000th living kidney transplant this week.

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