Researchers in Canada have discovered a way to use 3D printing to make nose cartilage.
The researchers produced the cartilage by combining cells harvested from a patient with a specially designed gel. Combined, they can be shaped by the printer to fit a patient’s nose.
A short clip shows the 3D-bioprinter producing the artificial cartilage.
Adetola Adesida, a professor of surgery in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, has hailed the breakthrough for the groundbreaking speed at which the cartridge can be made.
The surgeon told the University of Alberta Folio, “It takes a lifetime to make cartilage in an individual, while this method takes about four weeks.”
Adesida, along with researchers Xiaoyi Lan and Yaman Boluk, led the project to help people suffering from skin cancer.
Many sufferers develop lesions on their noses, needing surgery to remove them. As part of this procedure, many patients may have to have cartilage removed with the lesions, leaving facial disfiguration.
Before lab-grown cartilage was an option, replacement cartilage would most likely be taken from the person’s rib cage. Far from solving the problem, this would often lead to more complications down the line.
Adesida explained “you’re opening the rib compartment, which protects the lungs, just to restructure the nose. It’s a very vital anatomical location. The patient could have a collapsed lung and has a much higher risk of dying.”
Video source: Youtube
Picture source: @calgarysun