Forget Bjork s 3D printed mask — additive manufacturing could soon be a regular part of facial reconstructive surgery, thanks to facial implants created from printed tissue cartilage.
That s according to a new project by renewable materials specialist American Process Inc. in association with Swansea University Medical School in the U.K.
Researchers on the project are developing durable 3D-printed tissue that s capable of being used in a variety of ways as part of facial reconstruction.
We are printing living tissues, living structures, tailored to the needs of individual patients, project lead Professor Iain Whitaker has said.
We hope that in the future, patients who have lost all or part of their ear or nose through trauma or cancer could have reconstruction using new tissue which is grown from their own cells using nanocellulose.
Biomaterials are a key component of our tissue-printing technology and nanocellulose is our biomaterial of choice because of its biocompatibility, mechanical and structural properties that can support cell attachment and growth in three dimensions.