3d Printed Flexible Ears
Dr. John Reinisch has helped develop a new approach to ear reconstruction. Cutting-edge techniques allow us to create an ear implant that contains a patient's own cartilage. These new implants will look more natural and be flexible like a normal ear.View transcript
I want to tell you about the future of ear reconstruction and some exciting things on the horizon. One of the issues with either rib reconstruction or implant reconstruction is the fact that the ear, once reconstructed, is not flexible. You can't bend it like this. It can break. It can cause some issues. They're not perfect. What we would like to have is an ear implant that allows us to do surgery early, that doesn't have to come from the rib, that will end up with a flexible ear made of natural cartilage. We've been working on this for the last six years with two companies, and have just, about six weeks ago, received FDA approval to begin our first patient trial of a 3D printed autologous, meaning your own cartilage cell implant. The cartilage is extracted from a small piece of your own cartilage, your own ear cartilage. It is grown in the lab so that we have millions of cells, and those cells can then be printed into an implant that we can place. And we hope to be able to say that we can do early ear reconstruction and get an ear that is very similar to your opposite ear, and flexible like a normal cartilage ear.