Medical Researchers 3D Print Replacement Windpipe

By Gary Cutlack on at

A new technique to repair damaged neck pipes involves printing a 3D scaffolding, harvesting cells, then letting them grow into the right shape, a bit like building yourself a new friend out of chicken wire and papier mache.

Expert Todd Goldstein told theĀ Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: "Making a windpipe or trachea is uncharted territory. It has to be rigid enough to withstand coughs, sneezes and other shifts in pressure, yet flexible enough to allow the neck to move freely. With 3D printing, we were able to construct 3D-printed scaffolding that the surgeons could immediately examine and then we could work together in real time to modify the designs."

What they're doing isn't currently being stuck into bodies, but they are laying down the groundwork that could one day see us popping to the GP to have wonky bits scanned and rebuilt. [MakerBot [PDF] via Engadget]