A former Air Force engineer, Mike Balzer, who built a career creating 3D graphics, found his passion for the technology come in extremely handy when his wife got sick.
Balzer had been helping his wife, psychotherapist Pamela Shavaun Scott, in developing treatment for video game addiction when she started to have severe headaches.
Since Scott had undergone a thyroid removal surgery previously, her husband kept a close eye on her health. When the headaches started to get worse, Balzer asked her to get an MRI scan, which she eventually agreed to. The were alarming.
The scan revealed a 3-centimeter-long mass in Scott’s skull, lodged behind her left eye. The radiologist dismissed it by saying that these types of masses usually occur in women and asked them to consult after a year.
The duo, unsatisfied with the answer, decided to take the matter in their hands. They sent out copies of Scott’s report to various neurosurgeons across the country, which eventually led to another scan.
This time, doctors said the tumor was not only dangerous, but had also increased in size, making it more of a threat than before. The surgeons recommended having it removed, stat.
However, Balzer had doubts about the increment in tumor’s size. He compared the new reports with the old ones and decided to use his talent in 3D printing in order to prove his theory and assist the doctors with the surgery.
With the help of his Maker Bot, he created a 3D rendering of the tumor from various angles, and it turns out, Balzer was right. The tumor hadn’t increased at all.
He then proceeded to print out a 3D skull of his wife’s head which he later sent to the neurosurgeon who would perform the operation. The model represented the exact position of her tumor.
Fortunately, the surgery turned out to be successful. The doctors say if the operation was delayed for six more months, Scott could have suffered severe sight damage.