Doctors were able to print a device from a 3D printer that helped to save six-week-old Kaiba’s life. The development happened after the child collapsed and turned blue while at a restaurant with his family. In the months following the incident, Kaiba stopped breathing frequently and had to be resuscitated on a daily basis.

Kaiba was born with misplaced lung and heart arteries, which were placing too much strain on his windpipe, a condition known as tracheobronchomalacia. In severe cases, like Kaiba’s, the condition can lead to death. In other less severe cases the child can grow out of it by around 3 years of age.

A biomedical engineer at the University of Michigan worked with Kaiba’s doctors to print a 3D device that was used to keep the baby’s airway open. Since it was implanted into his chest he has had no further difficulty breathing.

Severe tracheobronchomalacia is a condition that has claimed many children’s lives and up until now there was not much doctors could do for it. Even with the best treatments, it was very likely Kaiba was going to die from the condition. 3D printed objects are becoming a popular topic in medicine as of late. While these printers can be used to make weapons, they can also be used to save lives and make devices that can assist people in ways that were previously impossible.

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