At the beginning of this month, we talked about how the FDA has recently approved a sleep apnea implant, but is there a different way to treat this particular disease? The answer would be yes, as Australia’s CSIRO has come up with a 3D-printed mouthpiece which can be 100% personalized for each patient, and it will also add a far more practical alternative to the mix to boot that might be able to handle sleep apnea once and for all without any kind of invasive surgery prior to that.
This particular mouthpiece was developed by CSIRO researchers in collaboration with Australian dental company Oventus. The team relied on a 3D scanner in order to produce a map of a patient’s mouth, where they then printed the device to fit, using a combination of titanium and medical grade plastic. This particular design would then separate the airflow into a couple of separate passages. The “duckbill” happens to be a titanium spout which protrudes from the patient’s mouth when it is in use, allowing a clear airflow to the back of the throat, all the while doing away with potential obstructions including the tongue or relaxed muscles at the rear of the mouth.
There is no word on possible pricing as at press time, but CSIRO does have their hopes for this device to be made available to patients in 2015. [Press Release]