STATE of the art 3D printing technology has been used for the first time in Malaga to treat a young boy suffering from an aggressive form of lung cancer.
The breakthrough technology was used to treat the 2-year-old at the University Hospital of Malaga in an operation that took place on January 14.
The boy was suffering from what is commonly known as a hepatoblastoma, a rare type of cancer that originates in the lungs of children under the age of four.
In order to properly prepare for the complicated surgery, the doctors used radiograph imaging to create a 3D model of the child’s organs, including the tumor that had formed.
Once printed, it was used to practice the procedure numerous times before operating on the child.
The model was also used to accurately communicate with the child’s parents what their child would be undergoing, putting them at ease and allowing them to understand properly the details of the operation.
This is the first time the technology has been used in this context in the province, and represents a breakthrough in surgical technology to be used in complicated procedures.
The team involved in the process was made up of 12 doctors, nurses and surgeons including Alexander Siles, Rafael Parrado and Sara Hernández del Arco.
“The technology has been a great asset to what is normally a very complicated procedure, it allowed us to virtually operate the patient over and over again before performing the surgery in reality,” said Siles.
“It is the first time in Malaga that a pediatric patient with a liver tumor has had the help of 3D technology for virtual surgical planning.”
The surgical team now hope that the technology will become a regular part of their medical arsenal and boost the University Hospital of Malaga into a new generation of medical science.
“Our goal is that from now on we can count on this type of technological advance in all our patients with childhood cancer,” said Siles.
3D printing technology has been slowly developing across Spain in recent years as the country seeks to improve its medical care system.
The method was also used to help combat the COVID-19 virus and provide vital equipment to serious cases of the virus.
After shortages of ventilators during the first wave of the pandemic last year, the Leitat Technology Centre developed 3D printed ventilators to be used in emergency situations to help stabilize patients before beds could be found.