4D Implant Saves Babies


3 baby boys are still breathing today thanks to a new 3D printed 4D bio-material medical implant. Suffering from a severe form of tracheobronchomalacia, which causes the windpipe to regularly collapse, the three boys were each implanted with a custom splint to keep the windpipe open.

The 3 different children were given 3 custom designs, all with the same materials and printing.

Using this new bio-material that can change shape over time (the 4th dimension), scientists say that they can print hundreds of these splints, and not worry about having to switch them out, to allow for the child’s growth. And while the splints will dissolve eventually, infants’ bronchi (the air passages connecting the windpipe and lungs) by then will have nearly doubled in diameter from the original diameter.

The boys who got the implant no longer need the aid of sedatives, narcotics, or paralytics to keep breathing.

Made from polycaprolactone, which harmlessly dissolves in the body over time, the not-dog bun shaped splints are currently being approved by the FDA for a 30 child clinical trial.

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