Quantcast

Lifelike ears created with 3D printing



WASHINGTON—Researchers said Wednesday they had engineered artificial human ears that look and act like the real thing thanks to 3D printing, giving hope to patients missing all or part of their ears.

The new ears, practically identical to human ones, could provide the solution long sought by reconstructive surgeons to treat thousands of children born with the congenital deformity microtia, along with those who suffered ear loss to cancer or in an accident.

In a study published online in the PLOS ONE journal, Cornell biomedical engineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians said the flexible ears grew cartilage over three months to replace the collagen used to mold them.

“This is such a win-win for both medicine and basic science, demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together,” said co-lead author Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Cornell.

Bonassar and his colleagues first constructed the ears with a digitized 3D image of a person’s ear that served to build a mold of a solid ear using a 3D printer.

A high-density, injectable gel made of living cells helped fill the mold. Once the mold removed, cartilage was grown on the collagen.

And researchers praised the speed of the process, noting it takes half a day to build the mold, about a day to print it, 30 minutes to inject the gel and the ear can be removed just 15 minutes later.

“We trim the ear and then let it culture for several days in nourishing cell culture media before it is implanted,” Bonassar said in a statement.

Microtia, when the external ear is not fully developed, occurs in about 1 to four per 10,000 births each year in the United States.

Although children born with the deformity often have an intact inner ear, they lose hearing due to the missing external structure.

Weill Cornell associate professor Jason Spector noted that physicians could reduce the chances of rejection by using human cells from the same patient to build the ear.

The best time to implant a bioengineered ear on a child would be around the age of five or six, when ears are at about 80 percent of their adult size.

Spector predicted that researchers could try the first human implant of a Cornell bioengineered ear in as little as three years.

Replacement ears are usually built using materials with a foam-like consistency, or using a patient’s harvest rib. But the process is often painful, especially for children, as the ears rarely look natural or perform well.









Recent Stories:

What PH peacekeepers can look forward to when they come home 1 min elapsed Malacañang says Aquino looking forward to Gilas Pilipinas ‘excellent games’ 9 mins elapsed PCGG raises P158 million from sale of Bugarin properties 14 mins elapsed Palace: Aquino will not take the MRT challenge 18 mins elapsed ‘Poe-Kiko’ tandem? Grace Poe goes LOL! 21 mins elapsed Palace says Aquino still believes in Abaya, problems in MRT ‘systemic’ 32 mins elapsed Opapp: Bangsamoro Basic Law to be submitted to Congress anytime 41 mins elapsed Gigi Reyes bangs head to wall, seeks medical check-up 59 mins elapsed
Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace