The 4D printed tracheal stand was used to save a life

27 Apr

The 4D printed tracheal stand was used to save a life

The medial world has most importantly realize the used of 3D printing technology for saving lives of people. The Chinese medical world has increasingly become known for their approach to the news 3D printing solutions. My 3D oriented medical innovations have been used in cane to strategies the surgeries and hav saved many live with the help of 3D printed surgical tools or implants.  Apart from these successful surgeries, a surgeon in h Tang Du Hospital in Xi’an was the first doctors in China to user 4D printed surgery tools. They used a 4D printed tracheal stent to successfully operate a 46-year-old lady named Mrs. Wu ad se suffered from severe respiratory obstruction.

Mrs. Wu is a farmer from the Xingping county in the Shaanxi province. She was facing severe problems as her condition was gradually deteriorating from rhr oast six months. Also she was also raking medication to fight endobronchial tuberculosis since past 2 years. Apparently at one night Mrs. Wu could not cough up sputum that limited her ability to breathe and its worsened her condition. After about an hour of trying her face had turned purple so she was immediately taken to the Tang Du Hospital by her family members.

The 4D printed tracheal stand

When hospitalizations the doctors found that the trachea was softened and was going to collapse in no time and at a pint the trachea had almost narrowed down to 3mm. Thoracic surgeon Li Xiao-Fei explained that the patient’s condition was life threatening. Normally a trachea is 13 cm long, but in Mrs. Wu's case more than half of the trachea was unable to function. The doctor at the Tang Du Hospital further explained that it is a very rare condition and thus they could not insert the tubular support stent as it would make more complications for the patient.

Therefore, the surgeon had to opt for another way to deal with the situation and decided to use the latest 4D printing tchnology for the same. The surgery was done on the morning of 28th March 2016, with the tubular support that was inserted into the patients widpipe to enable airflow. It also helped the surgeons to lift up the trachea and get it back to its actual place. The procedure thus resulted in the patient to breathe normally while opening up the airway. “Now that the airway is opened up, I can breathe and spit normally again. Before the surgery, I could hardly even breathe,” Mrs. Wu the patient said afterwards.

The 4D printed tracheal stand?

4D printing is one of the terms that is very often used by many. It is just a 3D printed object but with some material specific properties that enables it to change its shape without human intervention. For instance, a 3D printed plastic seal that opens or closes when it is open to certain amount of pressure or water. For this particular surgery the surgeons used a 3D printed stent that would be absorbed by the blood in a period of 2 to 3 years. This further eliminates the need for an invasive second surgery. It was based on a foreign made stent, whereas it was only used for a 1.5 mm lesion and not for 6 cm. In the process of 3D printing, eventually Li Xiao-Fei decided to implement a custom-made made 4D printed scaffold.

With the surgery being successful the surgeon feels this paves way for these kind of similar surgeries in the future. The absorbable polycaprolactone biomaterials were used to make the 4D printed model of the trachea scaffolding proved to be successful enough for the tracheal stenosis but in the other hand it also it also decreases the stress levels of the patient. The chances of adverse effects of the material are reduces because it is biocompatible at the same time no second surgery us required. Li Xiao-Fei a further believes that 4D printing could be used to upgrade trachea surgery in the near future.  Thus we can say 3D and 4D printing work well in proving live saving models for individuals and giving them a new life.


Chris Joel (Author)

The 4D printed tracheal stand was used to save a life
Chris Joel is a writer at 3D Printers Online Store. Hailing from South London, he has a degree in English Literature. His interests include the application of 3D printing technology to art and its popularization.