3D printed devices bring more solutions to medicals industry

The life-saving 3D printed device

Posted By on May 29, 2013 |


3D printing has scored some really good points this weekend, when the University of Michigan announced that two members of its staff had just saved the life of a baby using 3D printing related technologies.

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A few months ago, the six weeks old baby, Kaiba Gionfriddo, endured a real life-threatening event. While being at the restaurant, his parents saw him turned blue as he stopped breathing. The incident was due to a collapsed bronchus blocking the flow of air in his lungs. While almost all doctors had given up any hope to save the boy, two of them from the University of Michigan teamed up to find a solution. They came up with the groundbreaking idea to create a 3D printed device that could help to support Kaiba’s bronchus.

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Glenn Green, M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of Michigan and his colleague, Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer, proposed to 3D print a piece of biodegradable skeletton to replace the malfunctioning bronchus during the time needed by the body to repair it. For this project to come to life, they had to obtain an emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to create and implant a tracheal splint for Kaiba made from a biopolymer called polycaprolactone.

Thanks to the use of 3D modeling software, the doctors were able to design a splint fitting exactly Kaiba’s trachea. The 3D printing process then allowed them to product the design very quickly.

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On this issue, Dr. Glenn Green stated:

“We obtained imaging of his defect with a CT scan. Scott Hollister rapidly went about designing a splint that would meet this need. This is the first time this procedure has been done anywhere in the world.”

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The boy was able to breath on his own only 21 days after the procedure, and did not show any sign of breathing trouble ever since.

Scott Hollister added:

“The material we used is a nice choice for this. It takes about two to three years for the trachea to remodel and grow into a healthy state, and that’s about how long this material will take to dissolve into the body”

And Dr. Green concluded:

“Severe tracheobronchomalacia has been a condition that has bothered me for years, (…) I’ve seen children die from it. To see this device work, it’s a major accomplishment and offers hope for these children.”

Below you can find a video that describes this amazing story:

At Sculpteo, we wanted to congratulate the team who has participated to this project! It is an incredible breakthrough for 3D printing, and it shows how much potential 3D printing has. We are looking forward to new medical uses of 3D printing!

Source: 3ders and on3dprinting

Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan Health System

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