Surgeons Replace Heart Valve Without Open Heart Surgery Thanks to 3D Printed Model

A 66-year-old man is doing much better these days thanks to 3D printing technology.

Richard Whitaker had a heart condition that caused fatigue and swollen ankles. He also has unusually large pulmonary arteries, which made surgery difficult to repair his condition.

So, to help decide on a surgical plan to replace his faulty pulmonary valve, the doctors made a 3D model of Whitaker’s heart. They then performed a mock surgery on the realistic 3D printed model before attempting the minimally-invasive surgery on the patient to replace his heart valve without the need for open heart surgery.

The surgery was a success.

“We are very pleased that Richard is doing well,” Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn, an associate professor of cardiology and pediatrics at UCLA, said. “With technologies such as 3-D printing and advances in minimally invasive procedures, congenital heart patients who might not have survived childhood 40 years ago are able to lead full, normal lives today.”

Whitaker is just glad to be back to a more active life.

“I didn’t miss a beat and was able to get back to my life quickly,” Whitaker said after the groundbreaking, 3D printing aided surgery to repair his heart and get him back on his feet for good.

Photo Credit: Screenshot