April and Bryan Gionfriddo owe their son’s life to a 3-D printer. Kaiba, their 20-month-old son, has a condition called Tracheobrochomalacia. This particular condition is characterized by weak airways, which in turn led his to collapse. When Kaiba stopped breathing doctors said there was a good chance he would not make it.
The doctors of the C.S. Mott Children’s hospital in Mich. received an emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to sew a splint, made from a 3-D printer, around Kaiba’s airway. The splint works as a supportive frame to assist in the proper growth of his airway. It will reabsorb into Kaiba’s body after about 3 years.
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Before the procedure Kaiba was using a mechanical ventilator to breathe, he failed to breathe on his own at some point every day and would need emergency resuscitation. Kaiba had the splint sewn in when he was 3 months old. It’s been a year since the splint was implanted and he hasn’t had one breathing crisis since.