3D printed ears are going to be transplanted on children in India, hopefully restoring their hearing!
At this rate it looks like in a number of years we might be able to order 3D printed body parts online and having them delivered to our local hospital/clinic for transplants 🙂
The BBC will be airing an exciting special BBC Inside Out London special in which the show’s host, Dr. Ranj Singh, pays a visit to the lab of Professor Alex Selfalian at University College London where he and his team are in the process of 3D printing ears made from real human tissue.
As you’ll see in the preview clip below, the lab uses uses accurate scan data to 3D print an ear replica from a nanopolymer. The print is then sterilized and implanted under the skin of a patient’s forearm, where it acts as a scaffold for human tissue. Skin and blood vessels grow in around the print over the course of four to eight weeks, at which point, a plastic surgeon removes the ear and places it on the head.
The scientists at UCL have already tested the growth procedure on rats and, in the next few months, they hope to perform their first human trials in Mumbai, India, where twelve children are awaiting the surgery. If the implants are a success, the procedure could replace the current method for handling this congenital deformity, which requires shaping rib cartilage into the shape of an ear and three or four different surgeries.