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Some kids with complex heart conditions benefit when a 3D model is used as part of their treatment plan.

The Ganatra 3D Printing Laboratory at Atrium Health Levine Children’s printed its first heart model in 2018. Since then, we’ve printed over a hundred more for adults and children and have expanded to serve other facilities and specialties, like neurosurgery and orthopedics.

We’re the only healthcare facility in Charlotte with this technology – and one of only a handful in the country using it for procedure planning. With anatomically accurate models, we can better understand each patient’s unique condition and shape a treatment strategy specific to them.

Email 3DPrinting@AtriumHealth.org for more information.

Benefits of 3D printing

Three-dimensional printing allows us to provide a new level of care. We use the models for:

  • Procedure planning

    Three-dimensional models let us plan both interventional heart catheterizations and surgeries, before entering the lab or operating room. This can potentially result in less procedural time, improved outcomes and shorter hospital stays.

  • Patient education

    Sometimes 3D models are given to families to help them visualize their child’s complex condition or procedure. This makes it easier for them to understand their child’s anomaly and how we can fix it.

How 3D printing works

If your child’s care team decides a 3D model would be beneficial, here’s what happens:

  • Step 1: Get the necessary imaging. We use high-resolution images that accurately show the anatomy of interest (the part of the body we’re evaluating). The most common sources are CT scans, MRIs or other images that can be converted to 3D.
  • Step 2: Create a 3D model. This is a process called “segmentation.” It’s where we create a three-dimensional computer model of the anatomy of interest and convert it to a PDF.
  • Step 3: Send it to print. It can take a few hours up to a whole day to print the model, depending on the model’s characteristics. The printer lays down thousands of very thin layers of an acrylic liquid, which hardens into a solid under UV light. As more and more layers are added, the 3D model is formed.

Atrium Health Levine Children's 3D Printing Lab

The Ganatra 3D Printing Laboratory at Atrium Health Levine Children’s printed its first heart model in 2018. Since then, we’ve printed over a hundred more for adults and children. Our lab is the only facility in the Charlotte region, and one of only a handful in the country, using it for procedure planning.

Contact us

The Ganatra 3D Printing Laboratory at Atrium Health Levine Children’s serves patients and providers across the country. Email 3DPrinting@AtriumHealth.org to learn more.

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