Boston Children’s Hospital uses 3-D printing to help baby born with brain outside his skull

Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital used a 3-D printout of a boy’s skull to prepare for the surgery that saved his life, STAT reports.

Bentley Yoder was born with encephalocele, a rare and often fatal defect in which the skull doesn’t form properly. In Bentley’s case, a significant portion of his brain grew outside of his skull, according to STAT. Despite being told he would not survive, his parents, Dustin and Sierra, continued to seek treatment that would give their son a future, eventually traveling from their home in Ohio to Boston Children’s Hospital.

Aided by 3-D models of Bentley’s brain, Dr. John Meara performed the risky surgery on May 24 to save the 7-month-old’s life.

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The surgery went well, according to STAT, but doctors still don’t know how much of the boy’s brain is functional.

“Nobody has any idea of what this kid is actually going to be able to do, because he’s so different,” Sierra told STAT. “Even the fact that he’s meeting some of his milestones is a blessing, so we’re just taking it one day at a time.”

Read the full STAT report here.

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