Surgeons manufacture new ears using 3D printing

The surgeons take only as much material as they need so that the medical residents can have an authentic material to practice on.

An under-developed ear replaced with a 3D printed ear

Various media reports have revealed that researchers at the University of Washington have developed a method to help trainee surgeons carve new ears from a pediatric rib cartilage like material utilizing 3D-printed molds.

The process is used for children with a missing or under-developed ear by harvesting pieces of cartilage from the child and carved into the framework of the new ear.

The surgeons take only as much material as they need so that the medical residents can have an authentic material to practice on. Some of the said residents use pig or adult cadaver ribs, but children’s ribs have been found to have a different size and consistency.

This new innovation could open doors for aspiring surgeons to become proficient in the very challenging but sought after procedure known as auricular reconstruction.

"It's a huge advantage over what we are using today,” said Angelique Berens, lead author and University of Washington School of medicine head and neck surgery resident.

According to an NDTV Gadgets report, three experienced surgeons practiced carving, bending and suturing University of Washington team’s silicone models, which were produced from a 3D-printed mold modelled from a CT scan of an 8-year-old patient, as part of the study.

Another advantage of this ground-breaking procedure is that because the models were printed from a CT scan, they mimic an individual’s unique anatomy.

The findings of the procedure were presented recently at the American Academy of Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery conference in Dallas, the US.

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