Blair Kauzlarich particularly appreciates the technology she uses in her daily work.
In February, Omaha’s mother expressed concern that her then 10-month-old son, Callum, was not meeting developmental milestones for his age.
He couldn’t sit up completely, roll back and forth, or stand up with help, and he was really sleepy. She also noticed a small ridge on the side of her head.
Now an administrator at Clarkson College’s 3D Printing and Training Center, Kauzlarich later worked in radiology at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, specializing in 3D imaging and printing. She and a colleague arranged for a CT scan of the youngster’s head.
Later, a radiologist called. The ridge was harmless, but they had found a mass in the middle of Callum’s brain.
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The tumor turned out to be a choroid plexus papilloma. Although rare, it was not cancerous. But an MRI later that night showed fluid on the brain. Kauzlarich and her husband, Kyle, began meeting with brain surgeons. They had several different surgical options.
In the midst of this, Kauzlarich did what she was trained to do: she worked with a radiologist to 3D render from Callum’s scans. The images allowed her to show her husband, a structural engineer, where the tumor was.
“It just allowed him and me to be on the same team and stand up for our son,” she said. She later posted a link to the image on their son’s CaringBridge page so friends and family members could better understand what Callum was up against.
A few days after the diagnosis, Kyle Kauzlarich met with his training group, F3. Another member knew of a Papillion family whose child had been successfully treated through Le Bonheur’s joint pediatric brain tumor program with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This family put them in touch with a Memphis surgeon who had previously operated on the same area of the brain where Callum’s tumor was. The couple had no doubts about the abilities of local surgeons, she said, but the Memphis surgeon’s experience confirmed their decision.
Callum had surgery on February 22. Two weeks after the discovery of the tumor, the family was back in Omaha.
Callum, now 18 months old, has caught up on his milestones and is walking and trying to run. “He’s got a whole different personality that came out,” Kauzlarich said.
Meanwhile, Clarkson’s 3D Printing Center is using its technology to create 3D visualizations and prints for healthcare professionals and community members and for teachers to use in anatomy education. Students specializing in radiology can also seek certification in 3D printing and visualization.
The center also organizes workshops to train medical students, radiology professors and others and provides 3D services for external clients.
“A lot of people, when they look at a CT scan or an MRI, they don’t have the medical knowledge to know what it means,” Kauzlarich said. “…It’s better to have a 3D model in your hands. It’s literally a way to convert medical language into something they can understand.”
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