This Man 3D-printed His Wife’s Tumor — and Saved Her Sight

Love can cure all, they say. Couple that love with a bit of technology and this certainly materializes. A former software engineer, Michael Balzer, saved his other significant’s eyesight by accomplishing this. He decided to incorporate 3D imaging to create a 3D copy of his wife’s brain tumour. Pamela Scott had come to know of the tumour after examination of her migraines. When Balzer noticed that doctors had tagged this tumour non-problematic he decided to approach things his own way rather than relying on their advice.

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The husband and wife mailed the MRI to neurologists the world over to ask for their guidance on the matter. Scott got her tumour examined once more to find out that it had grown with a vengeance. While this transpired, Balzer was busy examining the Photoshop replica which demonstrated an image that didn’t reflect the same. Truth is that it had not increased in size at all. Balzer rendered Scott’s cranium in 3D that was viewable from a number of different angles. Then he mailed it to neurosurgeons worldwide upon uploading it to Sketchfab.

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Interestingly, a neurosurgeon from the same hospital where Scott went for her migraine checkup offered his help. He advised the couple to opt for a much less invasive process which required approaching the tumour via the eyelid and taking it out with the help of a micro drill. Balzer had already used MakerBot to create a 3D print of Scott’s skull. He mailed this to the surgeon who was actually going to conduct this operation.

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Guess what, it worked like a charm. Scott had a successful operation and felt a lot better by the time it wrapped up. Doctors report that had she waited another 6 months, there was every likelihood of her eyesight being permanently damaged. Sigh! Finally a story with a happy ending.