It’s a wonderful thing to report that the use of 3D printed models in the medical field has become almost commonplace. And it’s certainly an understatement to say the stories we follow are heartwarming, as we’ve seen children’s lives changed, adults being given their lives back after new and successful treatments, and surgeries being completed when other doctors said it wasn’t possible, such as in the case of a spleen that was saved due to 3D printing. There have been many, many firsts regarding 3D printing and medicine, and it’s uplifting to know that still many more will follow. It’s got to be hard to top creating the first 3D printed conjoined twin heart, however.
As Jennifer Co-Vu, M.D., FAAP studied two female conjoined twins who were born at UF Health Shands Hospital in April, she was able to give some very nervous parents the news they needed to hear before birth: the babies would most likely survive being born as well as thereafter. Dr. Co-Vu explained to the parents, Jacquelyn and Mark, that they would then be facing whether or not to decide on surgery to separate them, or to commit themselves to a life of raising the twins in their conjoined state. This came on the heels of just learning that Jacquelyn was carrying twins. Up until her 20th week, she was under the impression she was pregnant with one child. And once it was discovered by another doctor that she was indeed carrying conjoined twins, she was given a very negative and dire prognosis.