3D-Printed Technology Used in Life Saving Pediatric Surgery for the First Time in the Southeast

Linda Long gets to hold her baby for the first time after he undergoes a groundbreaking pediatric surgery at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Amir is just 7 months old and is battling both congenital heart disease and Tracheobronchomalacia, a condition that causes severe life-threatening airway obstruction. He has suffered a number of episodes of airway collapse that could not be corrected with typical surgery protocols. A team at CHOA proposed an experimental procedure where they would insert a 3-D printed tracheal splint, which was created in part at Georgia Tech to open his airways. His mother agreed to Georgia's first ever procedure to place 3-D printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient.

In a complex 10-hour surgery, Children’s team of surgeons successfully placed three 3D-printed splints around Amir's trachea. The splints will eventually be absorbed into the body, allowing for expansion of the trachea and bronchus.

Before the surgery little Amir had such trouble breathing his mom was unable to hold him. "It was an amazing feeling to be able to hold him again, " says Long.

Without the new 3D splints Amir would have continued to have life threatening episodes.

The 3D-printed tracheal splint is a new device still under development, as safety and effectiveness have not yet been determined and is not available for clinical use. The Children’s team of doctors were able to use the splints after getting emergency clearance from the FDA.

Watch CHOA’s video featuring interview and footage from the surgery.

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