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Breakthrough: UK doctors creating 3D printed ears for children with deformities
Posted by 3DP4E
MEDICAL
INNOVATIONS

By Staff | 3ders

Scientists are using 3D printing to create ears which will be used to help children with deformities. In a few month they will start trials to implant 3D printed ears into patients.

Professor Alex Selfalian, head of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine at University College London, said: "We make human organs with synthetic material and we've been doing it manually. Now we've moved to 3D printing."

"When children are born without ears or congenital deformities of the ear, they have to undergo invasive surgery." explained Dr. Michelle Griffin, Plastic Surgeon at University College Hospital. "They have to get rib cartilage then we design it into ear and then they go through 3 or 4 operations to try and get this new ear. However if we can just 3D print the ear that limits four or five operations to just one operation".

Professor Alex Selfalian and his team are just months away from the start of this unique trial. They have discovered that they can print the structure of the ear using a biological 'ink'.

Scientists are using 3D printing to create ears which will be used to help children with deformities. In a few month they will start trials to implant 3D printed ears into patients.

Professor Alex Selfalian, head of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine at University College London, said: "We make human organs with synthetic material and we've been doing it manually. Now we've moved to 3D printing."

"When children are born without ears or congenital deformities of the ear, they have to undergo invasive surgery." explained Dr. Michelle Griffin, Plastic Surgeon at University College Hospital. "They have to get rib cartilage then we design it into ear and then they go through 3 or 4 operations to try and get this new ear. However if we can just 3D print the ear that limits four or five operations to just one operation".

Professor Alex Selfalian and his team are just months away from the start of this unique trial. They have discovered that they can print the structure of the ear using a biological 'ink'.

Scientists first scan the undamaged ear and make a mirror image copy. The 3D model is then printed to form a scaffold that is then transferred into a patient. It is implanted under a flap of skin in the arm for 4~8 weeks where it develops blood vessels and skins. After that, a plastic surgeon removes the ear and attachs it to the side of the head.

Scientists have been testing the process by implanting a 3D ear on a rat. The operation filmed by BBC Inside Out (see the video below) is a major medical breakthrough and could lead to the 3D printing of other body organs.

Dr Griffin added: "Children born without ears is massive problem in places like India. There are so many of them and not many medical teams out there to help them get new ears."

In Mumbai, India there are already a dozen children ready to undergo the surgery. Researchers hope the clinical trial will begin on children both in the UK and in India next year.

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