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Surgeons use 3D technology on patient for first time

An 11-year-old has become the first patient in the country to have kidney surgery using specialist 3D equipment.

Libby, from Watchet, Somerset, was suffering from kidney and bladder complications which meant she was often in severe pain.

Surgeons were able to operate on her faster and with greater accuracy using 3D technology during keyhole surgery.

Hundreds more children across the country could now have faster surgery.

One in 200 children are born with stretched kidneys, but in Libby's case it was not detected until she was older.

She had a blockage in her ureter, the tube that connects kidneys to the bladder.

Libby said she often had a pain in her side and felt sick, and the painful episodes were becoming more frequent and stronger.

Her mother Holly said the family had found Libby's situation "quite worrying" the more it escalated.

Using the 3D laparoscopic equipment, which is only 4mm wide and more commonly used for brain surgery, the problem was corrected at Bristol Children's Hospital.

Libby's paediatric urologist Mark Woodward said the 3D equipment, which costs £20,000, had enabled him to be more precise during the operation, as the equipment creates a better image on screen and enables surgeons to perform the operation faster and with greater accuracy.

"All my training has been with non-3D, and you learn tricks to gauge depth and angle, particularly for suturing.

"Then when you flick it over to 3D - people will know themselves from going to the cinema - you suddenly know really well what your needle angle is."

Dr Woodward said the equipment would increase precision and help trainee surgeons learn operating skills more quickly.

Libby's surgery would normally take between two to three hours but using 3D equipment doctors think that can be reduced by 20%.

Source: BBC News Online


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