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PICTORIAL ESSAY
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8

3D-Printing in Congenital Cardiology: From Flatland to Spaceland


1 Congenital and Structural Cardiology University Hospitals Leuven, and Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
2 Congenital Cardiac Surgery, University Hospitals Leuven, and Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
3 Postoperative Intensive Care Unit, University Hospitals Leuven, and Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Correspondence Address:
Werner Budts
UZ Leuven, Gasthuisberg, Herestraat 49, 3000 Leuven
Belgium
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2156-7514.179408

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Medical imaging has changed to a great extent over the past few decades. It has been revolutionized by three-dimensional (3D) imaging techniques. Despite much of modern medicine relying on 3D imaging, which can be obtained accurately, we keep on being limited by visualization of the 3D content on two-dimensional flat screens. 3D-printing of graspable models could become a feasible technique to overcome this gap. Therefore, we printed pre- and postoperative 3D-models of a complex congenital heart defect. With this example, we intend to illustrate that these models hold value in preoperative planning, postoperative evaluation of a complex procedure, communication with the patient, and education of trainees. At this moment, 3D printing only leaves a small footprint, but makes already a big impression in the domain of cardiology and cardiovascular surgery. Further studies including more patients and more validated applications are needed to streamline 3D printing in the clinical setting of daily practice.


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