Belfast surgeons used 3D replica for kidney transplant

A 3D printed model of a kidney has helped Belfast surgeons perform a complex and life-saving transplant operation on a young Belfast mother.

A 22-year-old Pauline Fenton, a young mother from Belfast, UK, was living with end stage kidney disease and was wholly reliant on dialysis. Her 45-year-old father, William was confirmed to be a suitable living donor, but was blood group incompatible.

The surgeons at Belfast City Hospital made the decision to use an innovative 3D printed replica model of the father’s donor kidney.

This allowed the team of surgeons to ascertain the size and placement of the tumour and cyst, so the surgical team could plan and prepare for the surgery to remove the cyst and transplant the kidney to Pauline.

The surgeons plan the surgery in detail, considering the best approach, as well as the potential problems, before stepping into the operating theatre.

A kidney transplant not only offers a hugely improved quality and length of life to the patient, but is also financially beneficial. By harnessing tools such as 3D printing, transplants thought to be too complex are now possible.