HealthWatch: 3D Livers: a Medical First!

Published 05/04 2014 11:11PM

Updated 05/05 2014 06:48PM

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) --On average, there are 16,000 people on the waiting list for a liver transplant. Finding a live donor is becoming a feasible option for many patients. But the surgery can be risky for recipients and donors. Now, doctors have a new way to make transplants safer and it's a medical first

When Mollie Moreland found out her brother-in-law, Chris, needed a liver transplant - she offered to be the donor.

"I was so touched by just her generosity and her courage," Chris Wagner told Ivanhoe.

The 24-year-old didn't think twice when doctors told her she would have to give two-thirds of her liver to Chris, and had up to a one in 200 chance of dying.

"There's no turning back. He needed it," Mollie Moreland told Ivanhoe.

Before the transplant- surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic took images of Mollie's liver and printed a 3D replica that was an exact copy of the organ. They are the only doctors in the world doing this!

"We may be able to improve on the outcome and decrease complications," Nizar Zein, MD, Chief of Hepatology and Medical Director of Liver Transplantation, Cleveland Clinic, told Ivanhoe.

The 3D organ is transparent, so surgeons can see all the major veins, arteries, and structures. They use it to plan surgery and even make decisions in the operating room.

"This physical model, you have it in surgery. You are able to manipulate it the same way you do for a person's liver," Dr. Zein said.

Chris recovered- and Mollie's liver regenerated two weeks after surgery.

"She's just been just amazing about the whole thing," Chris said.

So far - Cleveland Clinic surgeons have used the 3D livers in about 25 surgeries. They hope to also use the models for tumor removal surgery and to one day create real organs in a lab to use in transplantation. Mollie and Chris started a charity to raise awareness and money for live donors.

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