3D printing has made a significant contribution in the healthcare industry. Creating 3D printed body parts and using them in important surgical treatments, has now become a common procedure in the medical field. Recently, doctors in the US have used this technology to turn powered plastic into small structures and in the process have saved the lives of three children who had defective airways and were unable to breathe properly. With these 3D printed devices, doctors were able to hold open these defective airways which let them breathe properly.
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3D Printed Implants Expanding with Time
These 3D printed implants have expanded as the little kids grew bigger. The experimental windpipe supports that are used to treat the kids have the ability to alter their shape over time. The researchers say that this feature adds a fourth dimension to the implants. This ensures that as the kids grow, they will also enlarge initially. Later, when they are not required anymore, they would dissolve automatically without causing any harm. The babies, on whom these implants were used, have now grown into healthy toddlers and the implants are working fine and dissolving gradually.
Dr. Glen Green, a pediatric ENT specialist representing the University of Michigan and the head of the research team which is responsible for developing these 3D printed implants, said that they are using laser light to convert powered plastic into medical structures that can change with the development of our body. He said that this concept, on which their work is based on, was inconceivable even some years ago.
Earlier Successful Treatments
Dr. Green and his team had earlier successfully treated Kaiba Gionfriddo, a baby who was diagnosed with severe tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) using 3D printed implants. In this medical condition the baby’s windpipe collapses and blocks airflow into his or her body.
Recently, Dr. Green and his team have fixed same types of implants in other youngsters with success.
Long-term tests conducted on Kaiba have proved that the 3D printed implant has worked properly. Kaiba appears to have recovered completely and the implant has started to dissolve already.
However, more tests are required to be done before the implants can become a part of mainstream treatment processes. Presently, the team headed by Dr. Green is working with FDA for starting a clinical trial of the 3D printed devices on 30 kids who are suffering from the same problems.
What do you think?
Do you think 3D printed implants will go mainstream? Have you used any 3D printed product? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Source – aaas.org
Article Source – huffingtonpost.com