A perfect surgery: Surgeon uses a 3-D printer

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He's been holding actual hearts in his hands for three decades. But a 3-D printed model of a heart and tumor has Methodist cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Michael Reardon excited.

The model is of Linda Newell's heart, and the large cancerous tumor that had formed in a precarious location.

“It was right where the main vein, the inferior vena cava came up from the abdomen and met the heart,” explained Reardon, “the question was ‘can I get it all from the chest, or do I have to go into the belly also?’”

Reardon printed a model of the heart and tumor and operate on it. The result told him the answer.  He could go in through the chest only, a much better and safer option.

Linda recalls his enthusiasm and confidence, which, she said, was infectious.

“He said, by the time I bring you up, I know exactly what I'm going to do, how I’m going to do it, and it will be like the second time I've done it…he was so excited about it, and so pumped, that I thought ‘okay.’  I mean he just took all the fear away.”

Linda’s surgery was a success and her prognosis is excellent.