We saved two babies’ lives with a 3D printer. Ask us anything!
Hi reddit! Dr. Glenn Green and Dr. Scott Hollister from University of Michigan here. We collaborated to create a bioresorbable splint made with a 3D printer that was used to restore breathing in two babies with collapsed airways. Both the babies, Kaiba and Garrett, are doing very well post-surgery. See the news report and video of Garrett's surgery. Rob Stein did a great segment for NPR's morning edition Ask us anything!
A bit about the process: The splints are custom-designed and custom-fabricated using high-resolution imaging and computer-aided design and were created directly from a CT scan of the babies’ trachea/bronchus. We then use the CT images to create a splint using a 3D printer out of a material called biopolymer. Once the splint is implanted during surgery, it acts as a scaffold as the tissue repairs itself. It’s then absorbed into the body over the next 3 years.
Edit: Keep your questions coming. We have to head back to clinic/lab, but will be back to answer more later. Thanks for a great discussion!