Child\'s skull
Dr Jenn Han, a surgeon got in touch with a 3D team and made a custom skull from plastic - Representational Image Ryan Somma from Occoquan, USA - Wikimedia

A Perth baby, who was born with a rare condition, was saved after surgeons used 3D skull printing to save her life.

Sophia was detected with a complete blockage of the nose due to bone fusing over her nasal cavity, and had to undergo a surgery.

"It's not an easy sight when you see a minute old baby and they're doing compressions on her chest," Sophia's mother Brooke Seidel told Today Tonight news channel. The baby was placed on a ventilator immediately after she was born.

After a computed tomography scan, doctors realised that Sophia was born with a blockage that was restricting her breathing, Daily Mail reported.

According to doctors, an urgent surgery was the only solution, but they feared that her tiny body could not withstand such a procedure.

"She was born fairly small for her age as well and whether the instruments were going to fit in her nose was one of the most important considerations - whether I could do the surgery on such a small baby," Dr Jenn Han, a surgeon at the Princess Mary Hospital said.

Dr Han got in touch with the biomedical engineers at Royal Perth Hospital to get a custom-made plastic skull. 3D printed body parts allow surgeons to prepare for highly customized procedures.

Doctors used the CT scans of Sophia's skull to produce an exact 3D model. It helped Dr Han get an idea about the size of surgical instruments needed during the surgery.

The team had to use instruments meant for operating in the small canals of the ear.

"To be able to know what we are going to as surgeons before we get there gives you the confidence and the skull itself," Dr Han said.

"I was able to explain to Sophia's parents exactly what condition it is because it's so hard to draw for them to visualise what's going on.

"We could see exactly the scope of what needed to be done and to make sure that the surgeon had the right tools that would fit properly in her nose," Dr Han said, according to Mirror website. The 3D model also helped keep Sophia under anesthesia for a shorter duration.

Seidel said that the surgery saved Sophia's life but she may need another procedure. "Some people cast their baby's feet and hands, well we've got her head," she added.