Book online with select Franklin Medical Group physicians

Published on May 05, 2017

Saint Mary’s Hospital Surgeon Employs 3-D Printing to Make Surgery Safer

Innovative Technique Helped Save the Life of Waterbury Woman with Cancerous Tumor

WATERBURY, Conn. (May 5, 2017) ─ Tina Snowfly, 57, of Waterbury knew something was wrong last summer when she flipped upside down on an amusement park ride and felt “a ball” rolling around inside her abdomen. What she thought was fat turned out to be a cancerous tumor that had grown undetected to about the size of a small football.

After the trip to the amusement park, Snowfly began to experience other symptoms and estimated that she had lost nearly 60 pounds. Doctors diagnosed the cancer after she was sent for imaging at Saint Mary’s Hospital, a member of Trinity Health – New England.

Ultimately, Snowfly was referred to Philip Corvo, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Saint Mary’s, who decided to take a unique approach to planning the surgery to remove the tumor. Corvo engaged a local company, Danker Design, and came up with a plan to use the hospital’s 3-D printer to create a model of Snowfly’s anatomy based on her CT scan.

On October 3, 2017 a surgical team of 10 safely and successful removed the tumor during a procedure that spanned seven hours. Snowfly’s recovery was enhanced by an innovative anesthesia technique that allowed her to return home without the need for prescription pain medication.

Find out more about these innovative approaches to surgery by watching ORTV’s “Crossroads Magazine” this Sunday at 10:40 a.m. on WCCT-TV. You can also hear the story on WJMJ Radio 88.9 FM this Sunday at 12:40 p.m.

Dr. Corvo and Ben Danker being filmed for ORTV

Above, Philip Corvo, M.D. and Ben Danker of Danker Design discuss the use of the 3-D printing technology in the Department of Surgery's Simulation Lab at Saint Mary's Hospital. Corvo is holding the 3-D model used to plan Snowfly's surgery.

About Saint Mary’s Hospital

Saint Mary’s Hospital is a nonprofit Catholic acute care community teaching hospital that has served Greater Waterbury since 1909 and is now a member of Trinity Health – New England. Licensed for 347 beds, Saint Mary’s is designated as a Level II Trauma Center, offers award-winning cardiac and stroke care and houses the region’s only pediatric emergency care unit. As the leading provider of surgical services in Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s was the first to introduce the daVinci® Robotic Surgery System. The hospital’s satellites and affiliates extend from Waterbury to Wolcott, Cheshire, Naugatuck, Southbury, Prospect and Watertown. Visit for more information and follow us on Facebook at SaintMarysHospitalCT, Instagram and Twitter at @SaintMarysCT.

About Trinity Health - New England

Trinity Health - New England is an integrated nonprofit health care delivery system formed in 2015 and is a member of Trinity Health located in Livonia, MI, one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Trinity Health - New England is comprised of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center and Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut; Johnson Memorial Medical Center, Johnson Memorial Hospital, and Johnson Health Care and Home & Community Health Services in Stafford Springs, Connecticut; and The Sisters of Providence Health System, which includes Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts; Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Massachusetts; Weldon Rehabilitation Hospital, Springfield, Massachusetts; Brightside for Families and Children; and Mercy Continuing Care Network that includes Mercy Homecare, Mercy Hospice and Mercy LIFE.

Media Contact

Jennifer Clement
Corporate Communications Specialist

(203) 709-6240