Written By UTV Staff, Belfast Via UTV Ireland
Lucy Boucher became critically ill aged just four weeks old, after suffering heart failure, her kidneys began to shut down.
She faced a lifetime on dialysis but now aged three years old she has a new lease of life after undergoing a kidney transplant in November last year.
The organ was donated by her dad Chris, a 35-year-old assistant lay minister.
However his kidney was almost four times the size of Lucy's and so the team at Guy's and St Thomas' and Great Ormond Street Hospital decided to use pioneering 3D printing technology in preparation for surgery.
Chris said: “You’re still thinking, how on earth can my kidney fit into Lucy?”
“The great thing about the 3D technology was that really then gave us an actual physical representation of what my kidney in Lucy’s abdomen really looked like.”
In a world first, information from CT and MRI scans were fed into a 3D printer which produced plastic models of both Lucy's abdomen and Chris's kidney.
This allowed surgeons from London's Great Ormond Street Hospital to rehearse each step of the complex transplant.
Pankaj Chandak, Transplant Specialist said: “This is very exciting for us because Lucy was our first case and we’re hoping, although it’s early days, we’re hoping to use technology and innovation to help other children of complex problems and hopefully it will help us carry out transplants [in] more children.
“It is early days and I would like to do my cases, but we’re delighted that Lucy’s went very well.”