GOOD

This Woman Can See Because Her Husband 3D-Printed Her Tumor

To help doctors remove his wife’s tumor, Michael Belzer printed them 3D model to practice on.

Pamela Shavaun Scott and her skull [via Make]

In William Gibson’s 2014 novel The Peripheral, the acclaimed author envisioned a not-too-distant future in which 3D printing is as ubiquitous for his characters as shopping at a convenience store is for us – where items as complicated and diverse as smartphones and designer drugs can be printed (“fabbed,” for “fabricated”) with ease. But that is science fiction, and we still live in a world of science fact, where, for most of us, 3D printing is not part of our everyday lives (...yet). Still, the technology has grown from an upscale – if fairly limited – hobby, to a serious tool for designers, engineers, and, in the case of one printing enthusiast, the means by which he helped save his wife’s eyesight.


After a series of MRIs indicated that a small tumor behind the left eye of Pamela Shavaun Scott had grown at an alarming rate, she and her husband Michael Balzer began bracing themselves for the possibility that Scott would require an invasive craniotomy in order to remove the growth – a surgery that, because of the tumor’s placement, could end up resulting in damaging side effects. It was then that Balzer, a graphics designer and 3D imaging specialist, decided to take a proactive step towards managing his wife’s health care. After obtained his Scott’s MRI data files, called DICOMs, Balzer used his design imaging skills to layer the scans, and came to the conclusion that his wife’s tumor hadn’t grown, it had simply been mismeasured. At this point, Balzer told Make:

“I thought, ‘why don’t we take it to the next level?’” Balzer says. “Let’s see what kind of tools are available so that I can take the DICOMs, which are 2D slices, and convert them into a 3D model.”

While the immediate crisis was over, Scott’s tumor still needed treatment. As Make explains, Balzer sent the 3D images to doctors around the country, hoping to find a less invasive surgical procedure for his wife.

Anterior skull section with skull based tumor by slo 3D creators on Sketchfab

Fortunately, Scott and Balzer found a doctor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical center willing to perform a less-invasive surgery – one that involved micro-drilling above the left eyelid, rather than opening the skull entirely. To help the doctor prep for the operation, Balzer printed a scale model of his wife’s skull – complete with tumorous growth - and sent it to UPMC. Using that model, the UPMC surgical team was able to plot their procedure in accurate, three dimensional space.

Thanks in no small part to Balzer’s innovative print job, Scott’s tumor, which had begun to emmesh itself into her optic nerves, was successfully removed in the Spring of 2014. Had she waited any longer, it’s likely that Scott would have lost much of her eyesight as a result. Here’s what her skull looks like now:

Anterior Skull Section with tumor removed. by slo 3D creators on Sketchfab

If doctors planning a patient’s surgeries with the help of custom 3D printed models might sound like something out of science fiction, it’s a practice that Dr. Michael Patton, CEO of Austin, TX’s Medical Innovation Lab, tells Make, ”is going to become the new normal.” If you’re interested, instructions for 3D printing your own medical images are already available.

Articles
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
Business

Childbirth is the number one reason American women visit the hospital, and it ain't cheap. In fact, it's getting more and more expensive. A new study published in Health Affairs found that the cost of having a baby with employer-sponsored health insurance increased by almost 50% in the past seven years.

The study evaluated "trends in cost-sharing for maternity care for women with employer-based health insurance plans, before and after the Affordable Care Act," which was signed into law in 2010. The study looked at over 657,061 women enrolled in large employer-sponsored health insurance plans who delivered babies between 2008 and 2015, as these plans tend to cover more than plans purchased by small businesses or individuals.

Keep Reading
Health

A meteorite crashed into Earth nearly 800,000 years ago. The meteor was 1.2 miles wide, and the impact was so big, it covered 10% of the planet with debris. However, scientists haven't been able to find the impact site for over a century. That is, until now. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal believes the crash site has been located.

Tektites, which are essentially rocks that have been liquefied from the heat of the impact and then cooled to form glass, help scientists spot the original impact site of a meteor. Upon impact, melted material is thrown into the atmosphere, then falls back to the ground. Even if the original crater has disappeared due to erosion or is hidden by a shift in tectonic plates, tektites give the spot away. Tektites between 750,000 to 35.5 million years old have been found in every continent except Antarctica.

Keep Reading