“Medical Engineering” uses CAD and 3d-printing to fix a man’s aorta

Tal Golesworthy has a medical condition where his aorta, the biggest artery in one’s body, lacks elasticity and swells with pressure—eventually leading to a lethal rupture. The only way to treat the problem, once it gets advanced enough, is to surgically remove the aorta and implant a plastic replacement.

This funny looking thing is a 3d-printed CAD model of Tal's aorta. They used this to construct his support wrapping, which he named 'exovasc.'

At least, that was the only surgical solution. Tal really didn’t want to spend the rest of his life taking an anti-coagulant medicine called Warfarin (which was originally made to be rat poison, and causes a whole slew of medical problems). But what was a boiler engineer to do? His expertise was plumbing.

He applied a simple plumbing concept to his complex medical problem: when certain parts of piping start to swell, you wrap tape around the outside (rather than replacing the pipe) to support it and prevent further swelling.

Check out this captivating TEDx talk, where Tal discusses how he worked with both doctors and engineers to implement his clever idea.

When working with people in other fields, the greatest potential danger lies in
mis-communication. He briefly mentions it when he talks about his mirrored aorta.
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