Man Saves Wife's Sight by 3D Printing Her Tumor

When his wife was misdiagnosed, Michael Balzer used 3D printing and imaging to get her well

The summer of 2013 found Michael Balzer in good health. A few years earlier, he’d struggled with a long illness that had cost him his job. As he recovered, he built an independent career creating 3D graphics and helping his wife, a psychotherapist named Pamela Shavaun Scott, develop treatments for video game addiction. Balzer’s passion is technology, not medicine, but themes of malady and recovery have often surfaced during his digital pursuits. But Balzer didn’t feel the full impact of that connection until that summer, shortly after he launched his own business in 3D design, scanning, and printing. In August 2013, just as the new venture was getting off the ground, Scott started getting headaches.

It might have been nothing, but Scott had gotten her thyroid removed a few months earlier, so the pair had been keeping an especially close eye on anything that might have indicated a complication. Balzer pestered his wife to get an MRI, and when she finally agreed, the scan revealed a mass inside her skull, a three-centimeter tumor lodged behind her left eye. They were understandably terrified, but neurologists who read the radiology report seemed unconcerned, explaining that such masses were common among women, and suggested Scott have it checked again in a year.

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