Children's Hospital Colorado

3D-Printer Spinal Technology Helps Teen Get Back to Active Life

9News | July 01, 2016

Jocelynn Taylor is an active 13-year-old who enjoys hiking, swimming and playing with her friends — but up until two months ago, she wasn’t able to do these things because of a severe case of scoliosis. In fact, Jocelynn’s spine curvature was over 100 degrees.

Aside from discomfort, Jocelynn's spine was compacting her right lung making it hard for her to breathe. 

"I would be on the couch a lot," Jocelynn said. "I didn't do much. I have never known any different so now, this is really cool."

Successful surgeries thanks to a 3D-printed spine

What Jocelynn is talking about is her new, active life thanks to impressive results from two spinal fusion surgeries conducted by Dr. Sumeet Garg. 

Luckily for Jocelynn, Children's Colorado is the first pediatric facility in the world to use new 3D-printed FIREFLY technology for the treatment of scoliosis. Because of this, Dr. Garg was able to work with Englewood-based, Mighty Oak Medical which took the scans and created the 3D-printed exact anatomical replica of Jocelynn’s spine.

Prior preparation for a safer procedure

This replica was pivotal for Dr. Garg while he performed these surgeries, giving him the opportunity to get to know Jocelynn's spine prior to her surgery. Then during the actual fusion, Garg was also able to connect rods to Jocelynn's spine with 3D-printed brackets that he knew would be a perfect fit — because they already attached well on the 3D-printed model. 

"Being able to visualize and sort of do the surgery in your head ahead of time, you can anticipate both the perfect surgery but also potential problems so when you're working in the OR, if something comes up, it's not the first time you've thought about it," Dr. Garg said. 

Learn more about Jocelynn's amazing recovery in the full story at 9News.