Kidney transplant: Antrim parents' gratitude after innovative surgery aided by 3D printing
The parents of a three-year-old toddler who underwent an innovative kidney transplant that involved 3D printing have said they are "very fortunate".
Chris and Ciara Boucher, from Antrim, told the Victoria Derbyshire Show that their daughter Lucy was taken care of by "brilliant medical teams".
Lucy had a successful kidney transplant last November. The kidney was donated by her father.
3D replicas of Lucy's abdomen and Chris' kidney were made before surgery.
The printed models helped surgeons at Guys and St Thomas' Hospital plan how to put an adult-sized kidney into the body of a toddler.
Lucy suffered heart failure at four weeks old. Her kidneys subsequently failed after being starved of oxygen.
She was put on kidney dialysis until she was old enough to go through with a transplant.
"There have been lots of ups and downs along the way," said Mrs Boucher. "The day that she took ill we were told when we were leaving our local hospital to say goodbye to her because she may not make the journey to Belfast.
"Thankfully for us, we have had brilliant medical teams in five different hospitals who have worked with her and got her to where she is today."
The transplant surgeon, Pankaj Chandak, said that the 3D models added an "additional layer of safety" for a complex type of surgery.
"So essentially, this [the 3D models] helps us with particularly planning that approach, but thinking about the incision, how to approach the vessels and the best lie of the kidney inside the abdomen."
Mr Boucher said he was "astounded" to see a 3D printout of his own kidney and that it helped underline the complexity of the surgery.
"It was phenomenal to see it and then to just hold it over Lucy's abdomen - you just think: 'How on earth can they fit that into this abdomen?'
"Again, it just highlighted even more how impressive what they do is."
Mr and Mrs Boucher said that Lucy is now an active and healthy young girl thanks to to the help of doctors and nurses over the past two years.
"She's so happy," said Mr Boucher. "She's smiled right through it and that's because of the nurses and the staff and the way they've been with her.
"She gets excited when she's going into hospital even when she's going into to get blood tests which she hates.
"She walks out with a smile on her face and we really are so grateful."