Cauliflower ear is known as "wrestler's ear" for a reason—it is a deformity that occurs when the ear is subjected to trauma. It most commonly afflicts rugby players, boxers, and of course wrestlers. However, it may become a thing of the past with a simple injection.
A new 3D bioprinting machine has been developed by Chinese researchers, which can make new tissue without the need for invasive surgery.
The researchers used the technique to bioprint new ears for mice. They combined cartilage cells and chemicals and injected it in the skin on the back of the ear. Immediately, new tissue formed, correcting the deformed ear.
Within a month, the cartilage had become part of the body and maintained its shape.
"Three-dimensional printing technology has great potential in advancing clinical medicine," said Professor Maling Gou of Sichuan University in China.
3D bioprinting could be used to develop other body part replacements, rendering risky operations obsolete. Bioprinted skin is anticipated to become a reality within the next couple of years.
"A non-invasive 3D-bioprinting system successfully generated ear-shaped supportive tissue in mice to correct outer ear defects," said Professor Gou. "It may provide a surgery-free option for humans with this condition who often undergo surgical implantations at the risk of injury."