Healing Eardrums with A New 3-D Printed Graft
The FDA regulates and oversees the evolving science that brings new therapies to patients. Cell-based treatments, which include regenerative medicine, promise the possibility to treat and perhaps cure various medical conditions.
Tympanoplasty is a procedure that can be recommended for the 200,000 individuals with eardrums damaged from traumatic injury in any given year. However, the sound is not the same without the regular functioning of a healthy eardrum after this procedure.
Researchers collaborated with biomedical engineers from the Wyss Institute, Nicole Black and Jennifer Lewis. They developed “PhonoGraft”. Desktop Health, a 3D-printing company, bought their small synthetic graft with the goal of replacing tympanoplasties, a complex and less sophisticated therapy. The Phonograft, uses biodegradable materials within the ear to regenerate a healed eardrum. This graft can be 3D-printed and customized at the time of surgery, to fit a patient’s needs.
The Phonograft’s biodegradable nature, lowers risk for ear infections and allows the eardrum to regrow. Manufacturers also apply a synthetic material, hence it is more affordable than alternatives. Doctors in the future may use general anesthesia rather than local anesthesia, and it could change current procedures from about 150 minutes to approximately 20 minutes of a surgeon’s time. The patient can leave the procedure after 1 hour instead of 8 hours of outpatient care.
We continue to see more advances in regenerative medicine as treatments. Please watch this space as the innovations move forward.
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