As users around the world embrace 3D printing, the impact of 3D printing continues to grow in a wide range of industrial sectors - especially medicine, as researchers make strides in their own LABS through bio-printing, as well as making medical devices, implants, prosthetics and more. Although 3D printing is not new in the field of hearing equipment and ear tissue bio-printing, researchers in the Netherlands are already working on a new method of ear reconstruction.
The Netherlands research team outlines their findings in 'Design and fabrication of a hybrid alginate hydrogel/poly(ε‐caprolactone) mold for auricular cartilage reconstruction. ' With the challenging goal of creating a 3D printed cartilage implant, the researchers assessed whether the bioprinting materials they had in mind were actually viable as they worked to create poly‐ε‐caprolactone (PCL) scaffolds, using alginate as a cell carrier. The success of using this technique may mean bypassing more traditional methods, which face challenges including:
Morbidity at donor site
Risky exposure of implants
Difficulty in surgical procedures
The researchers say the 3d printed cartilage implants do have the mechanical properties needed to withstand challenges as tissues mature in the body, as well as a natural core that forms tissue.