3D-printed splint used to help a baby breathe again

3D printing doesn’t have to be limited to tchotchkes. The production method has already proven its utility in surgery, and now a doctor has used 3D printing to help save a baby’s life. The baby was born with a condition known as tracheomalacia that left him with a trachea susceptible to collapsing and cutting off his air supply. University of Michigan doctor Glenn Green used a 3D-printed “splint” to support the trachea in an emergency procedure, and so far the results have been extremely promising. NPR has an article on the procedure, and the doctor and his 3D-printing partner held an AMA on Reddit last week to answer some questions, including details on how the splint is designed to dissolve after three years.

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