Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, in Manhasset, NY are studying tracheal repair using 3D Printing

  • The trachea (also known as the windpipe) connects your throat to your lungs. Air comes in through the windpipe and carbon dioxide goes out
  • If the windpipe ever gets torn or damaged, doctors can cut out the damage part and attach healthy ends, but the procedure is risky
  • Doctors are experimenting with 3D printing custom-fitted trachea segments to replace damaged tissue

Researchers at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, in Manhasset, NY are breaking ground on experiments involving 3D printing customized trachea segments of the.

When a person damages their trachea (also known as the windpipe), there are typically two procedures that exist to repair the damage.  Doctors can cut out the damaged tissue and reattached the health ends, or they can graft on cartilage from the patient’s ribs. Both procedures can be risky, and sometimes there is too much damaged tissue and the trachea can only be ‘stretched’ so far.

The doctors decided to explore the possibility of bioprinting tracheal segments that could replace damaged tissue instead of stretching or grafting.

Doctors modeling a tracheal segment. Courtesy of MakerBot

Doctors modeling a tracheal segment. Courtesy of MakerBot

The idea was to print a scaffolding in plastic and then fill it with a bio material paste containing collagen and cells.

The researchers printed and assembled a syringe paste extruder and modified their MakerBot Replicator 2X dual extruder so that one of the extruders could print with the bio material.

The main benefits of this prototyping is the speed and efficiency with which they can print and test revisions of the bio parts.

A layer of scaffolding is put down (top right) and then a secondary paste extruder fills it with bio material. Courtesy of MakerBot.

A layer of scaffolding is put down (top right) and then a secondary paste extruder fills it with bio material (bottom right). Courtesy of MakerBot.

Watch MakerBot’s video below that interviews the doctors working on the project.

ShareAHack.com Forums Doctors have created a 3D printed trachea (windpipe)

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