Ann Arbor (WZZM) - A breakthrough treatment developed here in Michigan helped save the life of a baby. The treatment involved implanting special splints created by a 3D printer.
Garrett, now 18 months old, was born with a condition called tetralogy of Fallot with absent pulmonary valve. The condition can put a lot of pressure on the airways. His airways collapsed so severely, he would stop breathing and turn blue several times a day. Because of that, he has not been able to go home since he was born.
So doctors at Mott Children's Hospital used a procedure developed at the University of Michigan to help. They created a 3-D model of Garrett's airway and specially designed and printed splints to implant into his body. The splints were sewn into two spots to expand his airways and give them support to help their growth.
"We know the splint is working," said Dr. Glenn Green with the University of Michigan. "He's able to ventilate both lungs for the first time, I'm very optimistic for him."
"He looks the most comfortable and happy," said Garrett's father Jake. "We've started to get smiles out of him."
This is only the second time doctors at Mott's Children's Hospital have performed this procedure. The splints will never need to be removed. Over time they will be absorbed by the body.