Reconstruction of a severely maimed ear is a major challenge. The ear is highly flexible yet tough, and has a very complex threedimensional shape. Reconstruction of a patient's burned ear is even more complex due to surrounding tissue damage. Not only does this hamper reconstruction options, it also increases the likelihood of issues when using synthetic implant materials. In such cases, rib cartilage is the preferred option, but this tissue has practical limitations too. For these reasons, tissue engineering and 3D bioprinting may have the potential to create personalized cartilage implants for burns patients. However, 3D bioprinting is a tool to facilitate the reconstruction, and not by itself the Holy Grail. The clinical application of this technique is still at a very early stage. Nevertheless, we expect that 3D bioprinting can be utilised for facial reconstruction following burns come 2020.
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|