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3D models of kidney transplant toddler to go on display in London

By Rick Faragher
BBC News NI

Published
image captionLucy Boucher, pictured with her family, received a kidney from her father Chris (left)

A pioneering kidney transplant between a father and daughter from Antrim is to be celebrated in a permanent display at the Science Museum in London.

In 2015, Chris Boucher's kidney was successfully transplanted into his daughter Lucy, who was then aged two.

Before surgery, 3D replicas of Lucy's abdomen and her dad's kidney were made.

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.

media captionThe organ was donated by Lucy Boucher's father

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.

image copyrightChris Boucher
image captionLucy suffered heart failure at four weeks old - the condition caused her kidneys to also fail

Since the transplant, Lucy says she feels "better" and loves sport. She has even won medals at the British Transplant Games.

"There's no stopping her now," said Chris.

"I remember going to the Science Museum as a kid and to think that we are going to be part of an exhibit is mind-blowing."

Selina Hurley from Science Museum said it was an emotional story that had resonated with her for the past three years.

"I really want to tell a story about how 3D printing was impacting surgery," she said.

"Everyone from the surgical team to the family were just so thrilled to be part of this experience and be on this journey with us."

She added: "Even while we've been building these galleries over the last year and a half and putting the objects in the cases in the last few months, everyone's stopped and had a look - from everyone putting our labels in, the people working in the gallery going 'oh my goodness I didn't realise they could do this'.

"So to have something that is almost a world first, the first time 3D surgery has been used to plan a child to adult kidney transplant, is hugely significant for us.

"But the family being so much a part of it, telling their story in a short film as well, meant that we have the whole picture and it's not just about the surgeons."

Related Topics

  • NI Health
  • Antrim
  • Kidney failure

More on this story

  • Kidney transplant: Antrim parents' gratitude after innovative surgery aided by 3D printing