The world of 3D bioprinting has come quite a long way at an extremely rapid pace. Recently the development and implantation of the world’s first custom 3D airway stent came to life.

 

The 3D printing advantage

Customized stents are advantageous as they can be made, “anatomically identical to patients’ trachea and/or bronchi.” This means that the group of patients who are currently unable to use standard prostheses now have an alternative.

Lung cancer patients are one group who may benefit from this work. Specifically, this group can experience blockage of the upper airways or narrowing of the bronchi or trachea. This increases patient distress and discomfort: the condition is known as stenosis.

 

Traditional methods for the treatment of stenosis involve the surgical implant of stents, these stents come in a range of sizes but are far from suitable for every patient. For example, a patient may have, “complex tracheal or bronchial anatomy.” Ill-fitting stents can lead to further complications including infection, inflammation and even perforation. 3D printing the stents allows for customization and may overcome these issues.

 

A collaboration between the startup AnatomikModeling and Toulouse University Hospital made this possible. You can find the results of this study in the  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine . Here the article describes the first findings from the study.

Imagine the endless possibilities the world of 3D Bioprinting offers!