Tech

3D-printed tracheal splint saved newborn’s life

A 3D printing machine is shown at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., May 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith) A 3D printing machine is shown at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif., May 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)  

A newborn baby’s life was saved by a groundbreaking procedure involving a 3D printer, The New England Journal of Medicine reports.

Kaiba Giofriond was born with a collapsing trachea and bronchus, a condition called tracheobronchomalacia. Numerous doctors did not think baby would leave the hospital alive.

The bronchus is one of the main airway passages to the lungs.

Desperate for a solution, Kaiba’s parents were willing to try anything; each day, his breathing would stop.

A medical research team at the University of Michigan had been pioneering a technique using a bioresorbable device constructed with a 3D printer, Science Daily reported.

By using imaging data from CT scans, the team could construct a custom-fitting splint using a 3D printer.

A 3D printing machine is shown at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California May 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

A 3D printing machine is shown at the Ames Research Center at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California May 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)

The team — notified by Kaiba’s doctors — obtained emergency medical clearance from the FDA to use the procedure, and the surgery was a success.

21 days after the operation, which occurred in February 2012, Kaiba was removed from ventilator support.

The biomaterials that make up the splint will be resorbed into the body in 2-3 years from the date of the surgery.

Since then, he has had no complications.

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