We've seen a lot of amazing things coming from 3-D printers these days, but this one might just top the cake. Doctors were recently able to create a splint using one of these modern marvels to open a baby's airway and save his life.
At six-week-old, Kaiba Gionfriddo collapsed and turned blue while out at a restaurant with his family. In the following months he stopped breathing regularly and had to be resuscitated on a daily basis. Kaiba had apparently been born with tracheobronchomalacia, a rare condition in which the main arteries to his heart and lungs are misplaced and ultimately restrict breathing. Doctors had tried everything to treat Kaiba, but were running out of time.
That's when Kaiba's health care crew teamed up with Scott Hollister, a biomedical engineer at the University of Michigan, who used a 3-D printer to make a device like a vacuum cleaner hose which could be implanted into Kaiba's chest. The splint would then hold Kaiba's airway open and allow him to breathe.
Three weeks after the operation, Kaiba was taken off the ventilator. He has been breathing on his own ever since.
Here's more about this remarkable story: