In the United States almost 1500 people are born every year with either absent or underdeveloped external ears. There have been traditional techniques in use that have been able to fix the cosmetic issue but a newly discovered 3D printed ear transplant by the name of ‘AuriNovo’ offers a living substitute. New York-based regenerative company, 3DBio Therapeutics and the Microtia-congenital Ear Deformity Institute have successfully done a human ear reconstruction using novel 3D printed AuriNovo living tissue implant for the first time in comparison to using rib cartilage grafts and traditionally-used synthetic materials.
The implant is made with hydrogel, proteins and the patient’s own cells thereby making it more flexible than the one constructed with synthetic materials. This method is also less invasive than the traditional procedure. In order to build the replacement, a surgeon first takes a sample of a person’s ear tissue to separate and culture the cartilage-making cells. Then based on the 3D scan of the fully formed ear on the patient, the part is printed using collagen-based bio-ink and surgically inserted above the jaw.
The first patient to get the implant is from Mexico and her procedure was done in June 2022. In future, the company wishes to use this technology to create other body parts also like spinal discs, nose and larger organs. This discovery is truly revolutionary in the healthcare space.