The Art of Science
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For most of human history, any baby who suffered a collapsed trachea or bronchi faced a tragic fate: suffocation. These tubes convey air from the mouth to the lungs, and some infants are born with congenitally weakened cartilage surrounding them, a condition known as tracheomalacia. In severe cases, this can lead the trachea or bronchi to collapse completely, blocking the flow or air and causing a newborn to suddenly stop breathing.
To the amazingly wide-ranging list of accomplishments attributed to 3D printing technology, we can now add one more: a custom-made tracheal splint that saved the life of an infant with tracheomalacia and will be safely absorbed into his tissue over the next two years. A team of doctors and engineers from the University of Michigan printed the splint and implanted it into six-week-old Kaiba Gionfriddo last year, and announced the feat in a letter published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.
(more at link)