Feb 15, 2019 | By Cameron

A study out of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) confirmed the efficacy of a 3D printed BioMask for treating facial wounds. Facial burns and wounds present medical trauma experts with serious challenges. The unique arrangement of muscles, tendons, and bones in our faces makes us all look different from one another and that same arrangement is also why it’s impossible to make a one-size-fits-all facial wound solution.

Available grafting techniques and skin substitutes have several problems, including rejection, infections, and scarring, and grafting isn’t even always an option because it creates a secondary wound that could destabilize patients who are in critical condition. The 3D printed BioMask could be shaped perfectly to a patient’s face and include their own skin cells, which would assist and accelerate the regenerative process.

After generating models from CT scans, the team led by associate professor of regenerative medicine at WFIRM Dr. Sang Jin Lee 3D bioprinted a mask for a section of a face consisting of three layers: ”a porous polyurethane (PU) layer, a keratinocyte-laden hydrogel layer, and a fibroblast-laden hydrogel layer.” Keratinocytes are epidermal cells and fibroblasts are dermal cells, constituents of skin. The BioMask was 3D printed on an in-house 3D integrated tissue-organ printing (ITOP) system that’s capable of dispensing up to six different cell types and biomaterials. Tests confirmed increased epidermal and dermal cell counts after seven days of BioMask application and wound size was significantly smaller than in the control group after seven and 14 days.

“The BioMask could have great clinical impact for patients by providing effective and rapid restoration of facial skin following serious burn or injury,” stated Dr. Anthony Atala, director of WFIRM and a co-author of the paper. “The bioprinting technology, combined with the face CT image, utilized for this concept allows for the fabrication of a personalized shape of a patient’s face so that we can take better care of the wound.”

The paper reports that future studies will investigate the inclusion of melanocytes to avoid cosmetic complications with patchy skin loss and discoloration between the bioengineered skin and native skin pigmentation. 3D printing is truly bringing a new face to facial wound treatments. “For patients who suffer from disfiguring facial wounds, the BioMask could one day be used as an effective treatment that would greatly improve their quality of life,” said Jin Lee.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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