Aug 21, 2017 | By Tess

A 32-year-old woman from India has received a prosthetic ear implant in record time thanks in large part to 3D modeling software and 3D printing technologies. The procedure, which was performed last month, was enabled by the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP) and the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC).

The CoEP team, which included professors Vikas Chougule, Arati Mulay, and others, was responsible for developing Osto3D, a “first-of-its-kind” software which enabled the AFMC doctors to quickly 3D model a custom ear prosthetic for the patient in question.

Using 3D printing technologies to create a mold for the prosthetic, the joint team was reportedly able to turn out an ear implant in just a week—quite a feat, considering it normally takes about a month to create a prosthetic ear.

The patient, a 32-year-old woman from Kondhwa, lost her left ear in an unspecified way, but was fortunate enough to be treated by a team from the AFMC. With a CT scan of her right ear, the doctors were able to precisely design a 3D model of a left ear prosthetic using Osto3D’s mirror function.

(Image: Pune Mirror)

“This modelled right ear was mirrored to the left side using advanced CAD technique, and the bottom support on the left side was modelled from CT scan data," said professor Chougule. "These left side landmarks were added to the mirror of the right ear to construct the left ear model.” 

The modeling process took only about 30 minutes to complete, a much faster time frame than the two weeks a conventional method would require. Once completed, the 3D ear model was exported as an STL file and sent to the in-house RepFab 3D printing facility. There, a mold of the ear prosthetic was rapidly 3D printed.

Not only did the Osto3D software help the medical team to produce the ear prosthetic in record time, but it also enabled them to cut manufacturing costs significantly. The medical procedure was reportedly a first within India.

Traditionally, an ear prosthetic would be made by carving an ear structure out of the patient’s costal cartilage (taken from around the ribs) and then covering it in skin. This method, which does result in a natural-looking ear, is costly and time-consuming, taking up to 15 days to create.

The Osto3D modeling software was developed with user-friendliness in mind, so that even non-CAD experts can use it to transform raw CT scan data into workable 3D models. This is achieved by converting the CT scan into point cloud data which are then “fitted with a smooth and accurate surface” using CAD processes.

“I am very happy now after the ear has been fixed,” said the patient. “The AFMC doctors have done a great job, replicating the exact look of my ear. No one can figure out that it is an artificial ear. I want to thank the doctors and the CoEP team for giving me a new lease of life.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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