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Researchers created a perfect lifelike replica of an adult human ear health news


Currently, many surgeons create replacement ears by removing cartilage from the baby’s ribs, an operation that can be painful and scarring.

While the resulting graft can be made to resemble the recipient’s other ear, it usually does not have the same flexibility.

Now, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Engineering in the US have developed grafts that provide “well-defined anatomy and correct biomechanical properties for those born with birth defects or those who lose an ear later in life”.

Ear reconstruction requires multiple surgeries and an incredible amount of artistry and precision.

“This new technology may finally provide a viable option for the thousands who need surgery to correct outer ear deformities,” said Dr. Jason Spector, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

According to research published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia, Dr. Spector and his team used cartilage from sterile animals to remove anything that the immune system might reject.

Over the next three to six months, the structure matures into cartilage containing tissue that closely replicates the anatomical features of the ear.

However, the engineered material was not as strong as natural cartilage and could tear.

To remedy this problem, Dr. Spector plans to add “chondrocytes” to the mix.

“Those cells will deploy the elastic proteins that make ear cartilage so strong, creating a graft that will be biomechanically much more like the native ear,” he said.

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