Bioengineers have used 3D printing to achieve a breakthrough in prosthesis by creating the first artificial ears that look and act like real ones.
A new study by researchers at Cornell University, New York, shows how prosthetic ears almost indistinguishable from natural ones can be 3D printed using gels made of living cells. Not only that, but over a three-month period these flexible, artificial ears grew even their own cartilage to replace the collagen used to mould them.
'This is such a win-win for both medicine and basic science, demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together,' said study author Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor of biomedical engineering.
The novel ear may be the solution surgeons have long wished for to help children born with ear deformity, said co-author Dr Jason Spector, professor of plastic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.