Imagine you are a soon-to-be parent, looking at one of the most complete images of your future family member for the first time on an ultrasound scan. But instead of the nervous butterflies of a new parent, you are feeling panic inducing anxiety – the doctor has detected a rare birth defect called spina bifida. If left untreated, it will cause long term physical and neurological issues for your child.
Depending on the type, maturity and many other factors, corrective surgery could entail a variety of different techniques. And while magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology has come a long way, it is still difficult to discern the exact portions of the swelling around the spine on your unborn baby. But now imagine that the surgeon hands you a 3-dimensional model, demonstrating in real-life terms the severity of the defect and the plan for corrective surgery.