3D Skin Printer Headed to VU

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The Dutch Burn Centre will gain access to a 3D printer to aid in the recovery of serious injuries. The printer can be used to reconstruct noses and ears, using the victim's body cells.Ears and noses are especially vulnerable, because they protrude and have a thin skin, according to physician-researcher Ernst Jan Bos of the VU Medical Centre. With the 3D printer a biodegradable mold can be made in which the cartilage can regrow in its proper shape. The mold is placed under the skin.

3D printer

The mold is adapted to the individual and is based on the head and parts of the cartilage still present. 'A new ear or nostril is very important to disfigured patients. They can breathe better and eyeglass wearers can wear glasses again,' said Bos.

The advanced 3D printer costs 60,000 euros. Initially, it was too expensive, but the Burn Centre won a prize of 27,000 euros from the 3M Fund. The price is awarded to initiatives that make a positive contribution to society.

The printer will probably be installed in the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam next year. Bos does not yet know when the first template will be placed.