Garrett (the patient) is just the second person whose life was saved with a new, bioresorbable device developed at the University of Michigan by Glenn Green, M.D., associate professor of pediatric otolaryngology and Scott Hollister, Ph.D., professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and associate professor of surgery at U-M.
Hollister and Green used provisions for emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to create and implant a tracheal splint for Garrett made from a biopolymer called polycaprolactone. Hollister created a 3D model of Garrett’s airway and specially designed splints for a custom fit on the baby’s bronchi.
Hollister was able to make the custom-designed, custom-fabricated device using high-resolution imaging and computer-aided design. The device was created directly from a CT scan of Garrett’s trachea and bronchi, integrating an image-based computer model with laser-based 3D printing to produce the splint.
On Jan. 31, 2014, Richard G. Ohye, M.D., the head of Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery at C.S. Mott, took on the intricate task of sewing two devices on two spots of Garrett’s airway, assisted by Green. The splints were sewn around Garrett’s right and left bronchi to expand the airways and give it external support to aid proper growth. Over about three years, the splint will be reabsorbed by the body.
The Petersons say they are full of hope for the future. Garrett’s smiles have returned, and they are amazed that they could be home with their baby boy in just a few months.