Home Health Care Ear’s The Future Of Cosmetic Surgery

Ear’s The Future Of Cosmetic Surgery

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The unique scaffold, which allows for the formation of an aesthetic and stable auricle, is 3D-printed and based on a CT scan. (Courtesy of Technion Spokesperson’s Office)



By Brian Blum

A small percentage (0.1 percent to 0.3 percent) of babies are born with congenitally deformed ears. This can have a severe psychological impact, and sometimes involves hearing loss.


While surgeons can reconstruct a proper ear using cartilage harvested from the patient’s chest, the procedure is not usually performed until at least 10 years of age.

Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Sheba Medical Center have developed a way to 3D-print “scaffolding” as the basis for a replacement ear.

Technion researchers monitored cartilage formation within the auricle construct in the lab for between 10 days and six weeks. (Courtesy of Technion Spokesperson’s Office)

The scaffold, which allows for the formation of an aesthetic and stable auricle (the visible part of the external ear), is designed from a CT scan of the patient’s ear and can be performed on children as young as 6 years old.

The biodegradable scaffold forms chondrocytes, the cells responsible for cartilage formation, and mesenchymal stem cells. Pores of varying sizes allow for cell attachment to form stable cartilage.

The procedure has so far been tested on lab rats. The researchers monitored cartilage formation within the auricle construct in the lab for between 10 days and six weeks before implanting it in the test subjects.

The grafted prosthetic ear demonstrated good biomechanical function, the researchers reported in the journal Biofabrication.

Prof. Shulamit Levenberg. (Courtesy of Technion Spokesperson’s Office)

The project was led by professor Shulamit Levenberg of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at the Technion and Dr. Shay Izhak Duvdevani, a senior physician in the Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Department and head of the Tissue Engineering Lab at Sheba Medical Center. The protocols were developed in Levenberg’s lab under Dr. Shira Landau.

“One of the challenges in the study was to find a suitable 3D-printing method, since fabricating an ear necessitates the use of biodegradable materials that break down in the body without harming it but have an extremely accurate external structure and small pores,” said Levenberg.

“We estimate that it will be possible to tailor our technology to other applications, such as nasal reconstruction and fabrication of various orthopedic implants.”

Produced in association with Israel21c.

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