3D Printed Heart Aids Doctor in Real-World Surgery

The full-size heart model was created in Jefferson ID's Design Technology Lab.
The full-size heart model was created in Jefferson ID’s Design Technology Lab.

















By Zach Samalonis

Jefferson Industrial Design Senior Jackson Gordon recently helped a Thomas Jefferson University Hospital surgeon by 3D printing a model of a patient’s heart. When Dr. Vakhtang Tchantchaleishvili was faced with a difficult and complex surgery, he collaborated with Jefferson ID to create a model of the patient’s heart as a visual aid prior to the procedure.

Gordon used 3D printing and fabricated an exact model of the heart, incorporating several different colors of PETG filament. “The surgery itself took close to six hours and the actual time on the cardiopulmonary bypass machine was close to three hours,” said Dr. Tchantchaleishvili. “I’m glad we printed the pathology in advance,” he said. “Working with the Jefferson Industrial Design team makes me think that we should probably do this every time we have a case with an unusual anatomy coming up.”

Jefferson’s ID program features a Design Technology Lab dedicated to prototyping and experimentation. Students are encouraged to integrate technology into their design processes. The lab has an array of 3D printers that provide a range of resolutions and is also outfitted with Wacom tablets that students use for advanced rendering and other digital work.

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