Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Acquires 3D Printer to Support Pediatric Surgical Planning and Research

Published on: 05/27/2015

Nicklaus Children’s Hospital has acquired a 3D printer to support pediatric cardiac surgery and clinical research. The hospital’s use of three-dimensional printing technology has proven to be instrumental in creating surgical solutions for children with complex congenital heart defects, who had been considered to be inoperable using conventional imaging techniques.

Nicklaus Children’s has teamed with Stratasys Ltd., a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions, and Advanced RP, a 3D printing and rapid prototyping provider, to bring this technology to the patients and families of South Florida and beyond. The Objet Eden260VS is one of the newest 3D printers on the market and most versatile of its kind.

After extensive experimentation and background research, Chelsea Balli, Biomedical Engineer for The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, devised the optimal 3D printing strategy to create pediatric heart models for surgical planning. "This printing strategy allows the cardiac team to create life sized heart models rapidly, using textures and colors that closely approximate human tissues. The printer was also designed to utilize water soluble support materials, which rapidly dissolve in a warm bath, leaving the heart team with perfectly clean and accurate heart models,” she said.

Pediatric Cardiology - The Heart Program
From left to right: Juan Apolinar; Computer Engineer at Nicklaus Children’s; Dr. Juan Carlos Muniz, Director of Cardiac MRI at Nicklaus Children’s; Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Cardiac Surgery at Nicklaus Children’s; Dr. Robert Hannan, Cardiac Surgeon at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Cardiovascular Surgery for the Heart Institute says “These life-sized three-dimensional models enable us to hold and manipulate the smallest arteries, veins and valves of the heart, and envision and plan complex repairs. We intend to measure the impact of this technology on our surgical precision and outcomes." 

“3D printing allows us to view the heart better than any photographic image. Having this technology at our fingertips opens doors to new treatment methods for the patients and families we serve. The possibilities are endless” said Dr. Juan Carlos Muniz, Director of Cardiac MRI for The Heart Program.

Most recently, The Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children’s turned to 3D printing to create a heart model for pre-surgical planning on a child born with TAPVC, a complex heart anomaly. Read more about this patient’s story here.

About Stratasys Ltd.

Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq:SSYS), headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel, is a leading global provider of 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions. The company's patented FDM®, PolyJet™, and WDM™ 3D Printing technologies produce prototypes and manufactured goods directly from 3D CAD files or other 3D content. Systems include 3D printers for idea development, prototyping and direct digital manufacturing. Stratasys subsidiaries include MakerBot and Solidscape, and the company operates the digital parts manufacturing service, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing. Stratasys has more than 2,800 employees, holds over 600 granted or pending additive manufacturing patents globally, and has received more than 25 awards for its technology and leadership. Online at: or

About Advanced RP

Advanced RP provides state-of-the-art rapid prototyping [RP] and 3D Printing equipment and services. Not only do we provide the highest quality 3D printers available, we also provide a 3D printing service using our own in-house printers, allowing you to benefit from this technology before purchasing your own 3D printer. Using Rapid Prototyping allows you to discover design errors prior to investing large sums of money in the production of a flawed product. Having this capability in-house also shortens product development cycle times, provides communication tools for sales/marketing, creates jigs and fixtures for manufacturing, and retains confidentiality on all of your projects.

About Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Where Children Matter Most ™ (2024)

Founded in 1950 as Variety Children's Hospital, Nicklaus Children's is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 850 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 307-bed hospital is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine, with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession's most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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