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Life-saving, 3D-printed custom splint steps closer to market – 3ders.org (blog)

by • March 12, 2016 • No Comments

Mar 13, 2016 | By Benedict
An adolescent girl has been given 3D printed tracheal splints to treat a congenital breathing condition called tracheobronchomalacia (TBM). Staff at the University of Michigan utilized an EOS 3D printing device and a biomaterial called Polycaprolactone (PCL) to manufacture the splints.

TBM, a rare condition characterized by flaccidity of the tracheal assist, is becoming simpler to treat thanks to the work of medical professionals and 3D printing innovation. Prior to the surgery on the unnamed adolescent girl, 3D printed splints had been utilized to treat TBM in the cases of three baby boys and a baby girl, each of whom had their collapsed airways reopened with the 3D printed splints. Dr Glenn Green, a pediatric otolaryngologist of CS Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, joined forces with Dr Scott Hollister, a professor of biomedical engineering and lead researcher at the University of Michigan, to perform the progressive surgery on the girl.

Dr Glenn Green
Green believes that, despite its rarity, TBM deserves scientific attention in order to improve the lives of sufferers: “Even if a market is relatively tiny, it does not diminish the human require to be treated,” he said. “It is estimated that one in each 2,000 children of the world is affected by this life-threatening condition. When I started turn it intoing my own porous scaffolds for anatomic reconstruction, I accomplished that 3D printing may be perfect for creating the harsh geometries I had in mind. It is now rather automatic to generate an individualized splint turn it into and print it; the whole process only takes of two days now instead of three to five.”
When 3D printing objects that can be utilized in and around the human body, it is significant to select the right printing materials, the level of toxicity in most common printing materials being far too high for medical use. In this case, the surgical team decided to use Polycaprolactone (PCL) for their 3D printed tracheal splints. The material has a long resorption time, that is significant for the reason the splints require to last for around two years. It is in addition ductile and therefore unlikely to injure bodily tissue if it moves out of place.
To turn it into a properly fitting tracheal splint for the patient, the medical team initially had to achieve MRI and CT scans to create up an accurate 3D version of her anatomy. By means of this data, the team was able-bodied to 3D print a tailor-made splint for the girl, turn it intoed with a highly compliant, porous structure of interconnected spaces that can expand as the airway matures. The girl’s splint-assisted trachea and so got to work straight after the operation.

3D versioning a tracheal splint
Dr Hollister and his colleagues of the University of Michigan utilized an EOS FORMIGA P 100 3D printing device to 3D print the tracheal scaffolds. The printing device has been in the university’s possession since 2006, and has been utilized to aid research into scaffolds and biomaterials. “I chose EOS for the reason we were looking for a process that was flexible and allowed us to alter parameter settings such as laser power, speed, powder bed temperature and so on, that we requireed to do to customize our creates,” Hollister explained.
Hollister hopes that 3D printing inside the medical world can go on to grow, allowing additional patients to breathe effortless when difficulties arise. “I see a time soon, most likely inside the future five years, when most hospitals and medical centers can print their own devices specifically for their own patients and not require to get them off the shelf,” said Hollister. “If we can expand the number of biomaterials utilized in additive making, we can tackle a immense number of problems in all fields of reconstructive surgery and manufacture huge strides for the benefit of patients.”

The 3D printed splints (above) and a prior beneficiary of the technique

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