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Conjoined Twins Successfully Separated With Help of 3D Printing

All3DP reports on a miraculous surgery successfully performed via the magic of 3D printing in Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, UK.

This surgery aimed to separate conjoined Pakistani siblings Safa and Marwa Bibi, who were born connected at the head.  The surgery itself involved a years-long delay due to funding, months and months of planning, and 50 hours of operation.  “The process was aided in part by 3D printing and modeling.”

The GOSH team was led by surgeons Owase Jeelani and David Dunaway.  3D printing and modeling gave them the ability to plan this complex surgery far more easily than they could have done ever before.

Craniofacial plastic surgeon Juling Ong, who led the modeling team for Safa and Marwa’s separation elaborates: “these are really unique cases and it’s not something we get taught in medical school.  With this software, we can make a realistic computer model to look at the extraordinary anatomy of these children and plan our surgeries beforehand.”

The team used 3D scanning to create 3D models of the twins’ brains, skulls, and skin.  Ong goes on: “[this allowed us] to try out different strategies for operating, and the likely danger areas given the twins’ unique anatomical structures.”

“GOSH’s 3D technician Kok Yean Chooi printed the skull in soft plastic.  It was used to plan how to divide the layer of skin between Safa and Marwa’s shared skull.  This wasn’t the only 3D print.  In fact, many were created before the girls went into surgery.”

Surgeon Jeelani concludes: “this is clearly the way of the future.  We are blessed [at GOSH] in terms of engineers and software specialists – the skill sets they bring to the equation are skills we as doctors with our medical training don’t have.”

For all these reasons, the surgery was a success.  Safa and Marwa are no longer conjoined.  “They will spend six more months in the UK to complete a rehabilitation program before heading home with their mother, Zainab Bibi, to Pakistan.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of All3DP

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