2 Notable Ways 3D Imaging Is
Pediatric Care.

How Modern Medical Technology Is Helping This Children’s Hospital

Just one day after being born at home, little Jemma’s dad noticed she was struggling to breathe.

Acting right away, her parents called 911 and had their newborn transferred by ambulance to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Once there, a pediatric cardiologist sat down with Jemma’s parents to explain that their daughter had been born without half her heart.

Understandably shaken, the parents were reassured by Jemma’s cardiologist who told them Phoenix Children’s could help. Since its very first days as a small pediatric hospital in Arizona, Phoenix Children’s has fostered a culture of ingenuity and invention, an ethic still very much evident within the hospital’s division of pediatric imaging. Its 3D Innovation Lab is among the first in children’s hospitals to marry 3D imaging, advanced postprocessing technologies and 3D printing, to create a life-sized heart model, complete with Jemma’s defect. This model served as the foundation for surgical planning.

Taking the 3D model of her heart, Jemma’s surgeon was able to unravel complexities prior to surgery. The team was able to evaluate her vascular patterns and determine the best approach to mending her heart - all before operating.

Today, Jemma is an avid swimmer who can hold her breath underwater longer than anyone in her family and runs circles around her older sisters. “One of the great things about Phoenix Children’s is that they have never put limitations on her,” said Jemma’s mom.

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Innovation in Pediatrics: How This Children’s Hospital Is Improving Patient Outcomes

3D Imaging and Improving Pediatric Health Care

3D Innovation Lab

Phoenix Children’s 3D Innovation Lab is redefining the way physicians approach diagnoses and provide treatment across all medical disciplines, even beyond conditions like Jemma’s. With leading-edge tools and expert providers on staff, the Phoenix Children’s clinical teams constantly seek out new opportunities to improve work, uncover possibilities and usher in new treatment protocols when the evidence supports it.

3D imaging and printing inform treatment and improves care of pediatric patients in a variety of ways. Physicians can now hold models of defective hearts, limb deficiencies, injured internal organs and even tumors. Notable examples include heart surgery and tumor measurement.

Heart Surgery

3D modeling has become the foundation for heart surgery planning at Phoenix Children’s Heart Center, allowing cardiovascular surgeons to use images from the lab to produce 3D prints for patients with heart defects. By printing a model of each patient’s defective heart, doctors can plan the surgery from start to finish without ever stepping foot in the operating room. Along with helping families, such as Jemma’s, understand their infant’s surgery, the models are used to train medical students and residents.

Tumor Measurement

Tumors are notoriously difficult to measure given their unusual sizes and shapes. Current protocols call for measuring tumors using length, width and height - or XYZ - data. This method can be problematic due to the margin of error, which is 200 to 300 percent, creating a significant challenge in determining appropriate therapies in patients with malignant tumors. At best, XYZ provides a “guesstimate” of a tumor’s true volume.

Phoenix Children’s is hoping to change that with its Pediatric Radiology 3D Innovation Lab, which uses 3D technology to determine a tumor’s exact size and allows physicians to discern subtle changes in size or shape over time and treatment. The super precision of 3D imaging allows radiation oncologists to identify the most viable course of treatment and determine whether those treatments are effectively shrinking a patient’s tumor.

The health care landscape continues to evolve.

Innovation in process, delivery models, information dissemination and medical systems will drive efficient, high-quality and cost-effective medical care. At Phoenix Children’s, the promise of improving pediatric practice drives us to keep pushing, improving and innovating every day.