Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Tech, and GCMI collaborate in Georgia’s first procedure to place a 3D-printed tracheal splint in a pediatric patient

Last August a multi-disciplinary team contributed to Georgia’s first surgery to place 3D-printed tracheal splints in a pediatric patient.

The patient who received the groundbreaking surgery is a 7-month-old boy battling both congenital heart disease and tracheo-bronchomalacia, a condition that causes severe life-threatening airway obstruction. During his six-month inpatient stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children’s, he experienced frequent episodes of airway collapse that could not be corrected by typical surgery protocols.

Scott Hollister, Ph.D. holds the Patsy and Alan Dorris Endowed Chair in Pediatric Technology, a joint initiative supported by Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He developed the process for creating the tracheal splint using 3D printing technology.

The splints were created using reconstructions of the patient’s airways from CT scans. Hollister and his team of biomedical engineers collaborated with the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) so that GCMI could create multiple versions of the splint, of varying sizes, to ensure the perfect fit was available for the surgical team to select and place around the patient’s airways during surgery.

In a complex 10-hour surgery, Children’s cross-functional team of surgeons successfully placed three 3D-printed splints around the patient’s trachea on the morning of August 17, 2018. The splints will eventually be absorbed into the body, allowing for expansion of the trachea and bronchus.

“GCMI provided the business, administrative and quality support necessary to move Dr. Hollister’s technology from research to the clinic,” explained GCMI CEO Tiffany Wilson. “There are always challenges in moving new technology in the lab into products in the market where it can benefit society. Our collaborative approach helps bring diverse groups of stakeholders together towards a common purpose – to help improve the lives of others.”

Read the full article from Georgia Tech Research Horizons.

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