Jun 17, 2013
Comments Off on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printer saves baby’s life.

3D Printed Splint

PCL splint produced on 3D Printer saves baby’s life.
Source: MSNNow

When 6-month-old baby Kaiba suddenly couldn’t breath his parents knew something was horribly wrong. Doctors initially suspected that Kaiba had probably just breathed something in however it happened again a couple of days later and continued to happen every day. Further investigation revealed the obstruction was caused by a rare condition known as bronchial malacia, a blockage that affects respiration. Treatment would require the insertion of a splint to hold the air passage open and allow the tissue to grow and heal around it properly.

To date the FDA has not approved 3D Printed components for use in humans, but with time of the essence special dispensation was granted for this radial approach., making baby Kaiba the first human subject to test this procedure. To produce the splint Kaiba was first imaged, to allow for extremely accurate dimensions to be used in the creation of  a computer model. This CAD file was then set to print requiring approximately a day for the tiny custom splint to be fully formed.

The splint was produced in  3D print material Polycarprolactone (PCL), a material often used in medical applications including as a filler to close gaps left in the skill following brain surgery. As PCL degrades over time yet is strong enough to offer the necessary support there will be no need to operate to remove the stint once the bronchus has healed in the proper position. 15 months on from surgery Kaiba is doing well and can now breathe on his own.

No official policy on bio-printing body parts has been agreed by the FDA however as 3D printing technology becomes increasingly sophisticated it is likely that a decision will be required sooner rather than later.

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