The World’s Smallest Stent has now been Printed by Scientists from Switzerland

World’s Smallest Stent

Urethral strictures make it tough and sometimes impossible to empty the bladder, in certain rare cases of children and also for those that are still in the mother’s womb. In order to remove the narrowed section of the urethra, a surgical procedure involving sewing the open ends together is typically performed. However, apart from being a challenging surgery for the physicians to perform, for the patient and in this case children also go through tremendous trauma.

To address this issue, a malleable stent has been 3 D printed by scientists at ETH Zurich, a major Swiss science and technology university. They have managed to print a stent so small that it can be implanted into the urethrae of fetuses.

This device they have created is forty times smaller than any other stent that has been developed and used in the world so far, according to the researchers. The device once squeezed inside the narrow delivery, reshapes into its original size once it has positioned itself inside correctly due to its shape memory.

The development that is so impressive is the fact that such small structures can easily be printed now. It such a breakthrough, to be able to print so easily a range of medical applications that are  narrow up to an extent of 100 micrometers or less in diameter.

This device can be dubbed as a result of 4 D printing as it has the special feature of the fourth D in 4D, which happens to be the shape memory which allows the device to go back into its original configuration in which it was printed.

The exciting development will proceed towards testing the device’s efficacy in animal models. Post this testing, the implants will be tested in humans.

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