Ear Implants Custom Made With Precision
A better fit and more accurate proportions
Every single year there are children born with birth defects that a surgeon has to go in and fix. One specifically called Microtia affects a child’s ears. Frequently, the procedure to get a healthy ear is complicated and can lead to massive scarring for the child. It is expensive and time-consuming. Right now, 3D laser scanning is just starting to emerge in the medical field. Doctors are beginning to use this to scan a patient’s ear and create custom-made implants for the patient.
3D laser scanning devices allow the implant to be better fitted, accurate proportions, and of the same width and length as the natural ear would be. It is a lot more precise than any other form of doing this procedure and is much more comfortable with the patient. The best thing is no other scars are necessary when using 3D laser scanning and printing.
How the original process worked
It was not easy to create a replicated ear; it hurts and leaves scars that we now know are unnecessary. The process surgeons used to fix this birth defect is called auricular reconstruction. It involved taking a piece of the patient’s rib cage and carved it into the shape of the patient’s ear. Once that step was done, it was slid under the skin where the ear would be stitched up.
The ear would not always be an exact match; it would leave a scar on the chest and where the stitches were. This ear would also be much thicker than the average ear and may feel uncomfortable. The last downside of this surgery was kids had to wait until they were 8 years old to get the surgery done.
How this process works with 3D laser scanning
With 3D laser scanning, no child has to go under anesthesia to get a CT scan. In fact, the scan can be done sitting up and in under a few moments. It is a lot more comfortable than previous ways of doing things.
Both ears are scanned, so the doctors have something to compare to. Then out of those scans, a replica of the full ear is made with 3D printing. One whole ear that can be attached and sewed onto the child’s head. These one-piece implants are made with high-density porous polyethylene. This material is safe to use and will last a lifetime. Because it is made in one place, there is a minimal chance it will change.
Many surgeons have not adopted this procedure, but as they see the outstanding outcomes and how much quicker the process is, the more they will want to try it out. This is just the beginning.
Making an ear the old way is hugely time-consuming, tedious, and there is a chance it will not work out. Using 3D laser scanning allows an exact copy of the other ear to be made for the opposite side. It is more realistic, is safe to use, and will last a lifetime. As the process becomes more refined, it will become a trend for doctors to use, and they can help more kids around the world.