A 3D resorbable bronchus to restore a 5-year-old’s breath. He was implanted at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome with an experimental intervention on a small patient suffering from bronchomalacia, a collapse of the bronchial wall that prevents the normal flow of air in the left lung. 

The intervention carried out in Rome is the first of its kind in Europe. The device, realized thanks to a team work that lasted over 6 months, allowed the child to breathe independently.

The 3D bronchus was entirely designed for Bambino Gesù with sophisticated imaging and bio engineering techniques. 

It was printed with bio-reabsorbable material that will be progressively eliminated from the body after having accompanied the growth of the child’s respiratory system and returned to the bronchus its functionality. A little less than a month after the operation, the child was able to return home. The delicate intervention, which lasted 8 hours, was performed on 14 October by Adriano Carotti, head of the complex cardiac surgery unit with innovative techniques, in collaboration with the airway surgeons of the Laryngo-Tracheal Team, directed by Sergio Bottero. The 3D bronchus is the result of a project of the Roman hospital based on a study by the University of Michigan, where the first 15 such installations were performed. The personalized device was designed on the anatomy of the patient starting from the two-dimensional images (Tac) realized in the Department of diagnostic imaging led by Aurelio Secinaro and then re-elaborated with sophisticated bioengineering techniques by Luca Borro of the Innovation and Clinical Paths Unit.

The three-dimensional model, a cylindrical ‘cage’ that reproduces the structure of the bronchus, was printed with polycaprolactone and hydroxyapatite, a bio-resorbable compound that is eliminated by the body over a period of about 2 years. (HANDLE).