May 31, 2013 10:44 AM by Marissa Torres
3D printers make solid objects from a digital model. They've been used to make toys and plastic models - there's even a 3D printer you can buy online.
Michigan doctors found a way to use a 3D printer to save one baby's life.
Kaiba Gionfriddo was born with a life threatening condition that his doctors in Ohio weren't able to treat.
They referred him to Dr.Glenn Green, a pediatric specialist in Michigan. It was a case of Tracheobronchomalasia, that's a birth defect where the walls of the airways fail to stay open causing affected babies to turn blue and stop breathing.
First using CT scans, a 3 dimensional model of Kaiba's airway was created once designed - the printer is used. It creates the structure, which in this case, was a nose.
"When we put the splint on and sutured the bronchus up to the trachea immediately the lungs started moving and then there was a cheer from the operating room staff and we knew he'd be okay," says Dr.Green, a pediatric specialist in Michigan.
The potential here is just unimaginable, from reconstructive surgeries for trauma or cancer patients. To one day building organs with human cells fused and grown into the printed structure.