3D-printed ear implants can improve treatment for hearing loss – tech2.org

3D-printed ear implants can improve treatment for hearing loss


Washington: Scientists have printed precise, custom-designed 3D prosthetic replacements for damaged parts of the middle ear, paving the way for improved surgical treatments for hearing impairment.

The technique has the potential to improve a surgical procedure that often fails due to improperly sized prosthetic implants, the researchers said.

Conductive hearing loss can be treated by surgical reconstruction using prostheses made of stainless steel struts and ceramic cups.

Surgery, which usually involves fitting a prosthesis for each patient in the operating room, is plagued by high failure rates.

"The ossicles are very small structures, and it is believed that one of the reasons why surgery has a high failure rate is due to the incorrect size of the prosthesis," said Jeffrey D Hirsch, badistant professor at the University of Maryland in the USA UU

"If I could tailor a prosthesis with a more accurate fit, then the edure process should have a higher success rate," Hirsch said.

Researchers studied 3D printing as a way to create custom prostheses for patients with conductive hearing loss.

Technology has been used successfully to solve a number of other medical problems prosthetic problems, including in the areas of joint replacement and facial reconstruction surgery.

Researchers removed the middle osseous link bone from three human cadavers and obtained images of structures with CT.

They used an inexpensive 3D printer to create prostheses to restore the continuity of each of the middle ears.

The prostheses were made from a resin that hardens when exposed to ultraviolet light from the laser. Each of the prostheses had unique measures.

Four surgeons then performed the insertion of each prosthesis in each middle ear, blinded to the bone of and for which each was designed. Then, the researchers asked the surgeons to pair each prosthesis with its correct source.

The four surgeons were able to correctly match the model of the prosthesis with its intended temporal bone: the bone that contains the middle and inner parts of the ear.

The odds of this occurring at random are 1 in 1296, said Hirsch.

"This study highlights the central force of three-dimensional printing: the ability to accurately reproduce anatomical relationships in space at a submillimeter level," said Hirsch. .

The results suggest that commercially available CT scans can detect significant anatomical differences in normal human middle ear ossicles, and that these differences can be accurately represented with current 3D printing technology.

More significantly, surgeons can detect these differences, which should not only increase the likelihood of a good fit, but also decrease surgical time, according to Hirsch.

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