Researchers At University of Washington Craft New Ears With 3D Printing

September 30, 2015

Written By Molly Brown Via Geekwire.com

It’s considered one of the most difficult parts of the reconstruction process — carving cartilage to make a new ear for children.

Now, University of Washington researchers have created a much easier solution using 3D printing.

Previously, surgical residents practiced carving ear cartilage on a “bar of soap, carrot or apple,” according to this UW release — beta methods that were not incredibly accurate.

In the procedure, rib cartilage is taken from the child, which is then “carved” to help form the reconstructed ear — something that surgeons really have to nail to get right.

In the UW study, silicone models were printed from a mold off a CT scan, in which three experienced surgeons practiced carving and working with the material. All three preferred the 3D-printed method and recommended it as the training tool for medical students.

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