3D printing helping surgeons
Living Healthy: 3D printing helping surgeons
BOSTON (WHDH) -- The advantages of new 3D printing technology has become so sophisticated that it's being used to assist surgeons in operating rooms, around the world.
Hot off the 3D printer - everything from automotive parts, to animated film characters, to art - and now, a way to save your life.
“Using this technology we can design and print a replica of any part of your body,” said Dr. Ohye.
At the University of Michigan that's exactly what they’ve done.
“The device is game changing. This gives us an opportunity to do something for children that otherwise would have no other options,” said Dr. Ohye.
When one and a half year old Kaiba was born his family was faced with devastating news.
“Having to watch your child, not knowing if you were going to take him home or having to bury him, it's kind of hard,” said his mother.
Kaiba was diagnosed with a rare condition. His trachea or windpipe was flattened and weak making it impossible for him to breathe. He had already gone into cardiac arrest several times.
“There was really nothing surgically that we had to offer at that point for him,” said Dr. Ohye.
Nothing until engineers using a 3D printer created a custom made splint they hoped surgeons could use to pry open Kaiba's airway. The splint was made of a polymer or a plastic called polycaprolactone
The 3-dimensinal printing process can layer by layer create the platform on which to re-grow a new ear or nose or child's windpipe.
With his 3D splint implanted Kaiba was finally able to take his first full breath.
“It was really amazing, his lung which had been totally collapsed, instantly started inflating. It was pretty striking,” said Dr. Ohye.
As an added bonus - over time the high-tech splint will simply dissolve as Kaiba becomes older and stronger.
“We want him to do everything every little kid deserves to do,” said Dr. Ohye.
It’s a shot at a long, healthy future for one very special young boy and a giant step into the future for modern medicine.