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U.S. doctors use 3D printer to create splints to open toddler's airways

Written by: QMI AGENCY
Mar. 17, 2014


Garrett Patterson would stop breathing and turn blue four or five times a day before doctors implanted 3D printed devices to open his airways.

The 18-month-old developed severe tracheobronchomalacia, or softening of his trachea and bronchi, and his airways collapsed. Before surgery he was on a ventilator at maximum pressure levels, but was not improving.

But his parents, who are from Utah, will finally get to take him home after of Michigan's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital doctors Glenn Green and Scott Hollister created bioresorbable splints to custom fit into Garrett's airways and implanted them Jan. 31.

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Garrett has regained enough strength to mostly breathe on his own, and if he needs a ventilator, he could use one at home.

Garrett will need about two to three years for his trachea to grow into a healthy state - the same amount of time needed before the material the splints are made of are absorbed into his body.

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