digitized-process-for-human-ears

Cornell bioengineers and Weill Cornell Medical College physicians have created an artificial ear that looks and acts like a natural ear, giving new hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia.

They used 3-D printing and injectable gels made of living cells to fashion ears that are practically identical to a human ear.

Over a three-month period, these flexible ears grew cartilage to replace the collagen used to mold them

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A 3-D printer in Weill Hall deposits cells encapsulated in a hydrogel that will develop into new ear tissue. The printer takes instructions from a file built from 3-D photographs of human ears taken with a scanner. (Credit: Lindsay France/University Photography)

The novel ear may be the solution reconstructive surgeons have long wished for to help children born with ear deformity, said co-lead author Dr. Jason Spector, director of the Laboratory for Bioregenerative Medicine and Surgery and associate professor of plastic surgery at Weill Cornell.

“A bioengineered ear replacement like this would also help individuals who have lost part or all of their external ear in an accident or from cancer,” he said. 

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