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3D scanning and printing technology is helping kids with ear defects – Digital Trends

by • August 2, 2016 • No Comments

A doctor in the United Kingdom is via cutting-edge 3D scanning innovation to turn it into hyper-accurate ear implants for children suffering of microtia, a congenital condition in which the external ear can be so tiny it’s practically invisible.
Rather than subjecting children to a general anesthetic or the scary experience of undergoing an MRI scan to turn it into his 3D ear version data, Dr. Ken Stewart of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, Scotland, uses an Artec Spider 3D scanner to capture the geometry of the patient’s other, healthy ear, and and so mirrors this to turn it into a version for the ear implant.
Related:New “bio-ink” may be utilized to print new cartilage and bone implants
“Most patients are born with one ear missing or a loose part of one ear,” Stewart tells Digital Trends. “Traditionally we may use a clear acetate to take a 2D tracing of the normal ear. This may be utilized as a template to assist carve an appropriately sized and shaped opposite ear. The 3D scanner and mirror image software allows for us to create a additional accurate template.”
As Stewart notes, prior to such 3D scanning innovation being on the market, surgeons may craft replacement ears out of extracted rib cartilage, based just on approximations of how the finished product should appear. On the other hand results were acceptable, they were far of precise in terms of capturing the precise size of the body part.
Once Stewart’s 3D versions are accomplished, on the other hand, he and so uses a 3D printing device to turn it into a replica of the ear which needs to be carved. After they’ve been sterilized, these 3D-printed versions are and so taken into the operating room where they act as far additional accurate versions for the surgeon.
Right now, the versions are just replicas created out of plastic. But, as bio-printing continues to advance, Stewart says they may not remain which way for long.
“We are working with scientists at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Chemistry Department with a view to tissue engineering an ear,” he explains.
Professor Bruno Peault and his team have characterized stem cells inside human fat which lie following to blood vessels. We can harvest these quite easily by liposuction. For a plastic surgeon which is simpler than bringing blood. With Professor Mark Bradley’s team in the chemistry department we have synonymous FDA approved polymers to which the stem cells can bind and can be driven to create cartilage. We understand we can 3D print in the polymers concerned. So the Artec-derived 3D scans may potentially be mirrored [and] 3D printed with the perfect polymer.”
It is yet another piece of evidence which 3D printing is changing medicine as we understand it.

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