A Model Print

3d replica helped Sneha’s surgeon plan her delicate surgery

When the abdomen pain started, Sneha Cipriano thought it might be appendicitis. A series of imaging tests, though, confirmed something unexpected.

Cipriano, 37, a married mother of two young children and a family medicine physician, had a large renal artery aneurysm – a bulge in the blood vessel that supplies the kidney – in a delicate spot near the back of her right kidney. While rare, this type of aneurysm is often found in young women who’ve had multiple pregnancies. It’s associated with abdominal pain and high blood pressure.

Small aneurysms generally pose no threat but as they grow in size, the risk of rupture increases. A ruptured aneurysm is life-threatening.

Typically, this type of aneurysm is surgically repaired with a graft. However, the aneurysm’s location made getting to it tricky for Henry Ford Hospital vascular surgeon Judith Lin, who worked with experts at the Henry Ford Innovation Institute to develop a 3D print model, or solid replica, of the aneurysm and affected kidney.

Cipriano underwent successful surgery last May, just a few weeks after celebrating her 10-year wedding anniversary. She was hospitalized for a week.

This was believed to be the first time in the United States a 3D replica was used for planning a renal artery aneurysm, Dr. Lin says.

After several years of working and living in Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Cipriano and her family recently moved south to North Carolina to be closer to family. She has returned to her routine activities.

“I’m feeling much better,” Cipriano says. “I’m able to do activities freely, now granted it’s a little slower.”

Coincidentally, Cipriano and her husband completed their residencies at Henry Ford. Her husband trained under Dr. Lin. So when the couple discussed which hospital and specialist to consult for her aneurysm, Dr. Lin was at the top of the list.

“She’s a fantastic surgeon,” Cipriano says. “Very comfortable with whatever needs to be done, able to think out of the box. If anything needed to be done that is not expected, she could do it.”

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