A 20-year-old Mexican woman became the first person in the world to have a 3D ear made from her cells.
Alexa was born with a rare ear defect in which the outside of her ear was not completely present.
Doctors hope that this transplant will revolutionize the world of medicine by providing treatment for people suffering from ‘microtia’. Microtia is a congenital condition in which the outer parts of one or both ears are not fully formed The condition can also affect hearing. Dr. Arturo Bonilla removed Alexa with incomplete partial ear surgery and sent her to 3D biotherapeutics with a 3D scan of Alexa’s intact ear.
Once there, the female chondrocytes, the cells that make up the cartilage, are separated from the tissue and combined with these components to form billions of cells.
These cells were mixed with collagen-based bio-ink and inserted into a 3D bio-printer through a syringe to form the outer part of the ear. The implant has a dissolving shell attached to it for initial support and will be absorbed into the patient’s body over time.
The implantable 3D ear took less than 10 minutes to print.
Dr. Bonilla said that if everything went according to plan, it would revolutionize the world of medicine.