The 3D bronchus was entirely designed for Bambino Gesu with sophisticated imaging and bioengineering techniques. 3D printing was entrusted, as part of a research project, to the 3D printing center Prosilas, which retrieved and adapted the material to its technologies. Before the implant, the "bronco" was subjected to sterilization processes at low temperature in order not to alter its structure and characteristics. For the mechanical resistance tests the Hospital has availed itself of the collaboration of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. With the authorization for the compassionate use of the experimental device granted by the Ministry of Health, the team of surgeons was able to proceed with the operation. The entire process, from design to intervention, required over 6 months of intense teamwork.
The delicate intervention on the 5-year patient, which lasted 8 hours, was performed on October 14, 2019 by Dr. Adriano Carotti, Head of the Complex Cardiac Surgery Function Unit with Innovative Techniques, in collaboration with the Laryngo-Tracheal Team airway surgeons, directed by Sergio Bottero. The child's bronchus was crushed between the left pulmonary artery and the descending thoracic aorta. This long-standing compression generated the narrowing of the respiratory tract and the collapse of the cartilage rings that support the bronchus wall. Due to breathing difficulties, during the night the child needed the support of the machines for non-invasive ventilation.