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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Children’s Hospital is aiming to be the model of advanced care with its latest tech addition – a 3D printer.

“So this is the main printer. You can see what’s happening now is actually a pelvis being printed for the orthopedic department and they’re using this probably for surgical planning for a particular case,” said Dr. Kanlesh Patel.

These models are exact replicas of the organ or bone that they’re working on down to the precise texture, density, and size of each body part. They are a good tool for training, but also for medical explanations.

“Families, as you can imagine, want so desperately do you understand the condition of their child that allows them to make sure they’re making informed decisions about what to recommend or what to accept from the medical team,” said St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Joan Magruder.

By having this 3D printing technology on location, it cuts back on cost and time, which allows doctors more time to practice before complex surgeries and improves the outcomes for their patients.

“We’ve actually officially opened today, but we’ve already done 200 models just in the past month and this is all by word-of-mouth as we’re getting set up,” Patel said. “People already, like, ‘I need this model for this case.’ There was one that was printed yesterday they need for a case on Monday.”

The 3D printer was paid for by a private anonymous donation.