The rise of 3D printing technology has opened up exciting new opportunities and possibilities for medicine, particularly in the medical device space. Some early game changing instances have already been reported this year, as a 3-D printed medical device was used earlier this year to save an infant’s life.
In late May, 6-month-old Kaiba Gionfriddo was diagnosed with tracheobroncholomalacia, a condition where breathing is impaired due to soft cartilage throughout the trachea. Had Kaiba been brought into Univeristy of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s hospital a year later, this condition would have been fatal. Fortunately for Kaiba, among those handling his case was Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer who had been exploring the medical applications of 3-D printing. When no option seemed available, he stepped in with the idea of creating a custom splint that would fit into the infant’s trachea. The medical team proceeded to take a CT scan of Kaiba’s chest and then create a 3-D render of the child’s trachea. From here, they designed and printed a custom splint that would be a perfect fit once implanted. Within three weeks, Kaiba had resumed normal breathing without the assistance of a ventilator.Read More