We have read about how 3D printers might change the way we do things, and it could also prove to be a modern day medical miracle. Case in point, this 3D printed windpipe (or trachea if you want to get all technical about it) could eventually allow patients to breathe a whole lot easier. Dr. Faiz Bhora of St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals alongside his research team has high hopes of being the first in the world to be able to implant 3D-printed tracheas in people successfully. The tracheas have been printed using biologic materials on a 3D printer, where they have also been primed with stem cells for growth.
It might still take a fair number of years before the possibility of transplant organs hail from the tray of a 3D printer instead of the traditional method – from a human donor. In the 3D silicone model of the trachea that you see above, this 4” tube begins from below the voice box and connects with the bronchi, where it took approximately a quarter of an hour for the model trachea to be churned out by a Fab@Home 3D printer. Hopefully human bodies will not reject whatever 3D printed implants down the road.