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Technology allows health care providers to learn, practice in safe environment

OMAHA — Blair Kauzlarich has a special appreciation for the technology she uses at work every day.

In February, the Omaha mom became concerned that her then-10-month-old son, Callum, wasn’t meeting the developmental milestones for his age. 

He couldn’t fully sit up, roll from back to front or stand up with help, and he was really sleepy. She also noticed a small ridge on the side of his head.


Blair Kauzlarich

Now an administrator of the 3D Printing and Training Center at Clarkson College, Kauzlarich then worked in radiology at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, specializing in 3D imaging and printing. She and a colleague arranged a CT scan of the youngster’s head.

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Later, a radiologist called. The ridge was harmless, but they had found a mass in the middle of Callum’s brain.

The tumor turned out to be a choroid plexus papilloma. While rare, it wasn’t cancerous. But an MRI later that night indicated some fluid on the brain. Kauzlarich and husband, Kyle, began meeting with brain surgeons. They got several different surgical options.

In the midst of that, Kauzlarich did what she had been trained to do: She worked with a radiologist to make a 3D rendering from Callum’s scans. The images allowed her to show her husband, a structural engineer, where the tumor was situated.

3D rendering

Omahan Blair Kauzlarich, who specializes in 3D imaging and printing, worked with a radiologist to make a 3D rendering from scans of the brain of her son Callum. The images allowed her to show her husband where the child’s brain tumor was situated. The tumor appears red in the image.

“It just made it easier for him and I to get on the same team and advocate for our son,” she said. She later posted a link to the image on their son’s CaringBridge page so friends and family members could better understand what Callum was facing. 

A couple days after the diagnosis, Kyle Kauzlarich met with his workout group, F3. Another member knew a Papillion family whose child had been successfully treated through Le Bonheur’s joint Pediatric Brain Tumor Program with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. That family put them in contact with a Memphis surgeon who previously had operated in the same area of the brain where Callum’s tumor was. The couple didn’t doubt the abilities of local surgeons, she said, but the Memphis surgeon’s experience clinched their decision.

Callum had surgery Feb. 22. Two weeks after the tumor was discovered, the family was back in Omaha.

Callum, now 18 months old, has caught up on his milestones and is walking and trying to run. “He’s got a whole other personality that’s come through,” Kauzlarich said.

Callum Kauzlarich

At 10 months old, Callum Kauzlarich wasn’t meeting the developmental milestones for his age. His mother, Blair, had him checked, and a brain tumor was found. Now 18 months old, he is meeting his milestones, walking and trying to run. 

Meanwhile, Clarkson’s 3D printing center is using its technology to create 3D visualizations and prints for health care professionals and community members and for faculty to use in teaching anatomy. Students specializing in radiology also can seek a certification in 3D printing and visualization.

The center also conducts workshops to train medical students, radiology faculty and others and provides 3D services for outside clients. 

“A lot of people, when they look at a CT or MRI, they don’t have the medical knowledge to know what that means,” Kauzlarich said. “… It’s better to have a 3D model in their hand. It’s just literally a way to convert the medical language into something they can understand.”