April 11, 2016

Powerful Potential for 3-D Printing in Medicine

3-D printing provides an innovative and life-saving approach for teen's tumor resection.

What started as a stuffy-nose and mild cold symptoms for 15-year-old Parker Turchan led to a far more serious diagnosis: a rare type of tumor in his nose and sinuses that extended through his skull near his brain.

Parker holding the
model of his skull.

“He had always been a healthy kid, so we never imagined he had a tumor,” says Parker’s father, Karl. “We didn’t even know you could get a tumor in the back of your nose.” through his skull near his brain.

The team members needed to get the best representation of the tumor’s extent to ensure that their surgical approach could successfully remove the entire mass.The Portage, Michigan, high school sophomore was referred to the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, where doctors determined the tumor extended so deep that it was beyond what regular endoscopy could see.

“Parker had an uncommon, large, high-stage tumor in a very challenging area,” says Mott pediatric head and neck surgeon David Zopf, M.D. “The tumor’s location and size had me question whether a minimally invasive approach would allow us to remove the tumor completely.” 

To help answer that question, teams at Mott sought an innovative approach: crafting a 3-D replica of Parker’s skull.

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