Roy’s Story: Saving a Young Patient’s Life

Posted on 18 July 2022 by Kerim Genc


At Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, the Cardiovascular Surgery Advanced Projects Laboratory (APL) uses a range of digital 3D technologies, including Simpleware software, to visualize anatomy and plan operations for pediatric patients. We previously looked at how Nicklaus Children’s has developed novel solutions for child heart surgery, with that example showing the great potential of anatomical models in clinical settings. The latest Nicklaus Children’s success story involves planning a life-saving operation for Roy, an 8-year-old boy with a difficult-to-treat tumor.

In Roy's case, Nicklaus Children's surgeons, as part of a multidisciplinary team, had to plan for a very complex case where a potentially lethal osteogenic sarcoma was located in a difficult-to-operate region underneath the brain and under the eye. Innovative solutions were then needed from the team to achieve a successful operation without damaging Roy’s appearance. To achieve this goal, a range of technologies were combined to plan and visualize the operation, and communicate it to Roy and his parents.

Workflow from Simpleware Software to Stratasys 3D Printing

Simpleware software was used by the team at APL to import imaging data of Roy’s skull, relevant anatomical features, and the tumor. Segmentation was then carried out to obtain regions of interest, with the resulting model sent to a Stratasys J5 MediJet printer to create a 3D anatomical model. With this model, the team could better visualize the pathway to the tumor, which was highlighted in pink. The eventual surgery involved making a skin incision behind the hairline to open a portion of the skull, before removing a small section of the cheek so that the surgeons could view the tumor directly from above.

Segmenting the tumor in Simpleware software and investigating it in the 3D print

Using Augmented Reality

As well as the 3D print, the data was also imported to the Augmented Reality (AR) tool DICOM Director Intravision XR to view the model using a Microsoft HoloLens 2. With this technology, Roy and his family could virtually interact with the model to improve their understanding of the surgery. Risks and benefits could therefore be communicated in a more dynamic way than traditional methods of explaining a surgery. In addition, AR helps surgeons and students to explore 3D image data, with options to select different regions of interest.

Roy and his doctors exploring the skull in AR

Roy's story is another excellent example of how Nicklaus Children's Hospital is using Simpleware software in conjunction with 3D printing and AR to save the lives of children with rare conditions. By using realistic models of individual children's anatomies and conditions, it is possible to enhance surgical planning and create a powerful resource for communication. According to Roy's mother: "Really, there are no words to say what they did for my son. It's a close, such a close team, and I thank them for curing my son."

Watch Roy’s Story

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Any Questions?

Do you have any questions about Simpleware software or need additional information? Our technical specialists will be happy to show you Simpleware software solutions for any anatomy.