Doctors Use 3-D Printing To Help A Baby Breathe
\"He sometimes goes from nothing to Blue --
Not even kidding.
30 seconds later, \"said Natalie Peterson, 25, Utah\'s mother.
\"It\'s too fast.
\"Garrett was born with a defective trachea.
His condition is called bronchitis, and his trachea is very weak, and the slightest thing can cause the trachea to collapse and cut off his breathing capacity.
\"It\'s terrible when he\'s upset and sometimes just changing diapers, he gets completely blue,\" his mother said . \".
So, the Peterson family contacted.
Glenn Green of the University of Michigan specializes in conditions like garlitte.
He works with Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer who manages the university\'s 3-3
Print Lab to create a superior solution to garlitte\'s problems
A device that can open the garlitte trachea until it is strong enough to work on its own.
Do not take ink on a flat page to print words or pictures, 3-
D The printer uses other materials, such as plastic or metal, to make three-
\"In you have the full 3-
Three dimensional structure, says Hollister. 3-
A printer used to make jewelry, art and even guns.
But Hollister is using the technology to make medical devices. He uses a 3-
A printer that melts plastic dust particles with a laser.
He has done a chin for a patient in Italy and has helped another baby whose condition is similar to garlitte.
But Garrett is very ill, and his situation is much more complicated.
\"It\'s just a problem after the breathing problem, just trying to keep him breathing,\" said Jack Petersen, Garrett\'s father . \".
At the age of 16 months, garlitt had been unable to leave the hospital.
Every time he stops breathing, it\'s a crazy impulse to save him.
The doctor is not sure how long they can keep him alive.
\"In a sense, we were thrown directly into the fire,\" Hollister said . \".
\"We describe it as some sort of Hail Mary pass.
They arrived at Ann Arbor from Salt Lake City on January.
Then I started working.
First of all, they did a CT scan of garlitte\'s trachea so they could do 3-A copy of it.
Next, they used 3-
D The printer designs and manufactures \"Splints \".
\"This is a white, soft tube that is specially tailored for the weakest part of garlitte\'s trachea.
\"It\'s like a shell, it\'s located outside the trachea, and it allows the trachea to be nailed inside the shell and open it directly,\" Green said . \".
But the equipment has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
So Green and Hollister had to convince the agency to give them an emergency waiver to try.
They don\'t have much time.
\"He is in critical condition.
Things are urgent and need to be done quickly.
\"It is very doubtful whether he can survive and how long he will survive,\" said Green . \".
Garlitte\'s parents know that there is a leap in their faith.
But they feel like they have to try.
\"We are very excited about the hope in this line, which may help garlitte to go home,\" said Jack Peterson . \".
Hollister and Green were approved by the FDA and the procedure was scheduled for January. 31.
As long as the surgeon, doctor
Richard O\'Brien opened Garritt\'s chest, and he and Green could see that Garritt\'s trachea had collapsed.
One of his lungs is completely white.
\"The only time I saw a white lung was in a dead person,\" Green said . \".
They soon started working, carefully placing the first of the two splints on one side of garlitte\'s trachea.
It is very suitable.
So they started to make a second splint, which is also very suitable.
After more than 8 hours, both splints are in place safely.
Then the most important moment: what happens when they let the air enter his lungs through garlitte\'s trachea?
This time garlitte\'s trachea was open and the White Lung turned pink.
\"It\'s great for me,\" said Green . \".
\"Here we have done something, and just a week ago we have built something to match this bug.
As we hope.
I say it will change the life of this boy and his family forever.
\"Garlitte is now 18 months old and still in the hospital, but within a few weeks of surgery he is getting stronger and he needs less breathing help.
His parents were ecstatic.
\"He has been doing very well.
\"He\'s been smiling all the time and it\'s crazy to see that he\'s really depressed and doesn\'t change the color,\" Natalie Peterson said . \".
\"He has more interaction and vigilance with his toys.
\"He\'s just starting to become more of a normal kid,\" added Jack Peterson . \".
Garlitte\'s splints were designed to expand as he grew up and eventually dissolve in his body as his own trachea became strong enough to work properly.
Green wants to save more babies in this way, but it\'s expensive to ship these extremely sick children across the country.
It is also difficult to convince the insurance company to pay for the trip.
\"It\'s one of the most frustrating things I \'ve ever experienced because I know we have something to help us with and look at all the barricades,\" Green said.
So he hopes to launch a formal study that could allow him to try more splints to save more babies.
Green says this is the most exciting thing he has seen since medical school.
\"What we\'re talking about is turning things like dust into parts of the body,\" he said . \".
\"We can do things that we couldn\'t have done before.
\"They have started using 3-
By combining the plastic structure with human cells, print to make more body parts, including ears and nose.
Other scientists use 3-
Printing of blood vessels, skin and even primitive organs from cells.