3D printing is no longer restricted to creating 3D surgical models. Recently, this technology is used to create helpful medical devices to alleviate patients suffering from different conditions. One of the recent innovations in 3D printing technology was spearheaded by researchers from the University of Michigan. The researchers were able to create customized CPAP or respiratory masks to help improve the condition of patients suffering from breathing inefficiency.
This 3D printed medical device is geared towards young patients suffering from craniofacial anomalies such as the Teacher Collins Syndrome wherein kids also likely suffer from sleep apnea. Traditional surgical solutions are not yet available to young patients thus they need to use a CPAP mask to help them breathe properly while sleeping. Unfortunately, conventional CPAP masks are geared towards adult patients thus leaks and discomfort often happen if young patients use them.
To create the 3D printed CPAP mask, researchers use 3D photography interfaces to create the 3D model of a patient’s face. The model is then used as a basis to create a mask that is appropriate for the contours of a patient’s face. The mask is created from silicon which is ejected by Stratasys 3D printers.
The new 3D printed CPAP masks improved the breathing of young patients. It is expected that young patients suffering from breathing problems will have better chances of improving their lives by using customized 3D printed CPAP masks. This innovation goes to show that 3D printing has a very promising role in the improvement of the medical industry.