3D Printing: three-dimensional printers to rebuild the ear
The three-dimensional printing is a more solid point of reference in the field of medical sciences. The reconstruction of organs and parts of the human body is only one of possible applications of a technology capable of simplifying even more complex operations.
In speaking of the three-dimensional printing refers to a large number of methods of additive manufacturing ranging across different fields of knowledge and are not limited to the creation of household objects of everyday use or an industrial production.
If in the early stages of his ascent 3D printing has done much to discuss, among other things, the ability to create objects capable of offending and weapons – as single shot pistols in perfect working order – it is true that the emergence of new applications in the medical field now occupies a large space in the news related to this technology. The techniques of creating human body parts make up a strand in its full stage of development and is still a long way to go but the growth in this field proceeds at an astonishing speed.
The team of researchers from University College London, led by Professor Alex Selfalian, an expert in nanotechnology and regenerative medicine, has conducted a study which aims to help children around the world born with certain specific malformations and that could lead to a major step in forward in the search.
The microtia is a congenital malformation of the ear which leads to a reduced development or almost zero of the ear, which affects about 1 in 8,000-10,000 births and is usually unilateral. Surgical techniques to address the problem are already there but the one developed by Selfalian be even more precise.
The method consists in generating, thanks to a 3D scanner, a three-dimensional reproduction healthy ear of the patient, projection which, once inverted, would allow the printing of a real model. This prosthesis was designed with a special porous and spongy, would then be implanted under the skin of the arm where, acting as a “scaffold” in a time span of 4-8 weeks would be covered with skin and essential blood vessels. Once the process is finished you could then proceed to transplant.
The method developed by the group of Selfalian addition to reducing the healing process, reducing the number of surgical operations necessary – usually invasive – from 4 or 5 to a single, also represents an important trampoline which would lead to the development of new methods for creating other parts of the body including the most delicate organs.