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Croatian Cancer Patient Gets New 3D Printed Ear Thanks to the University of Rijeka

by • February 17, 2016 • No Comments

uniri_logoResearchers of institutions across the world are working furiously to be the initially to 3D print a functional human organ, capable-bodied of being transplanted into a patient. We’re not there yet, yet we are getting nearer and nearer each day. One of the additional common types of tissue being worked on in labs is ear cartilage; only the other day scientists revealed that they had that successfully implanted 3D printed ear tissue into mice. Whilst transplanting a functional 3D printed ear onto a human hasn’t been attempted yet, 3D printing yet greatly helped a Croatian man who lost many of his ear to skin cancer.

The elderly patient was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, the many common type of skin cancer. It is one of the slowest-spreading types of cancers, so thankfully it hadn’t spread past the man’s ear, but he did, unfortunately, have to have many of his ear removed. Whilst the amputation mayn’t affect his hearing, it may leave him obviously disfigured. Not long ago, the aesthetic injure of such a surgery may have been permanent, but thanks to a 3D printing device and a skilled team of surgeons, this particular patient was able-bodied to have his ear restored.

This cancer patient lost a sizeable part of his ear after surgery. [Image: KBC Rijeka]

This cancer patient lost a sizeable part of his ear after surgery. [Image: KBC Rijeka]

Researchers of the University of Rijeka created and printed the ear in a biocompatible silicone material, that was carefully colored to match the patient’s skin tone. It was and so attached, via a special adhesive, to the lower and upper parts of the man’s ear in a 2nd surgery.

“After almost one month when the cut grew over, we opted for this type of operation, that was carried out in a team…Under local anesthesia we installed the 3D-printed part to the missing area of the right ear,” said Dr. Dubravko Manestar, who carried out the operation at Rijeka’s Otorhinolaryngology Clinic. “The mould was created with accurate measurements and and so a number of models were printed so the many much like to the existing part of the ear may be utilized.

“These type of operations are significant in cancer patients, especially those who are elderly and are not able-bodied to undergo long-constructive surgery under anesthesia,” he introduced. This type of operation makes for an aesthetically acceptable-bodied solution, that is in addition significant for the socialization of patients.”


University of Rijeka

Whilst we don’t hear of Croatia in 3D printing news as frequently as a few other countries, the East European country has been responsible for a few leading developments on the medical 3D printing front not long ago. Last year, the Neurosurgical Clinic in Rijeka created history by implanting an entirely acrylic, 3D printed vertebra into a patient suffering of spinal cancer, saving his life. It was the initially time such a procedure had been that successfully carried out.

Whilst the successful ear surgery performed on the skin cancer patient may not have been as historical or lifesaving, it yet created a massive difference in helping a man return rapidly to normalcy after the loss of a body part. The 3D printing device that restored his ear was purchased by the University of Rijeka as part of a research infrastructure project financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. Discuss this awe-inspiring system in the 3D Printed Silicone Ear forum over at 3DPB.com.