3D printing came to the rescue of 3 babies with a severe case of childhood disease.
In an article by Medical News Today, three babies were rescued from tracheobronchomalacia with an innovative fix.
Researches at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Harbor say the 3 boys have become “the first in the world to benefit from groundbreaking 3D-printed devices.”
Pediatric tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) sees excessive collapse of the airways when breathing and can lead to halted heart and breathing.
The study paper goes on to explain that the cartilage supporting the airway can strengthen as children with TBM grow.
However, severe cases of the disease need aggressive treatment and those children are at “imminent risk of death.”
Three children were treated with 3D printed stents 3 years ago.
The stents were design to accomodate airway growth while also preventing external complications.
“If a child can be supported through the first 24 to 36 months of tracheobronchomalacia, airway growth generally results in a natural resolution of this disease,” write the authors”
Senior author Dr. Glenn Green, associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology at C.S. Mott says: “Before this procedure, babies with severe tracheobronchomalacia had little chance of surviving. Today, our first patient Kaiba is an active, healthy 3-year-old in preschool with a bright future.”
Dr. Green continues:
“The device worked better than we could have ever imagined. We have been able to successfully replicate this procedure and have been watching patients closely to see whether the device is doing what it was intended to do.
We found that this treatment continues to prove to be a promising option for children facing this life-threatening condition that has no cure.”
The 3D-printed splints were computational image-based designed so that may be made for the individual patient’s anatomy on “the submillimeter scale.”
The surgeon performing the operations, Dr. Richard Ohye, believes the cases could provide a foundation for a potential clinical trial with less-severe forms of TBM.