Auricle shaping using 3D printing and autologous diced cartilage

Junlin Liao, Yong Chen, Jia Chen, Bin He, Li Qian, Jiaqin Xu, Aijun Wang, Qingfeng Li, Hongju Xie, Jianda Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To reconstruct the auricle using a porous, hollow, three-dimensional (3D)-printed mold and autologous diced cartilage mixed with platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Methods: Materialise Magics v20.03 was used to design a 3D, porous, hollow auricle mold. Ten molds were printed by selective laser sintering with polyamide. Cartilage grafts were harvested from one ear of a New Zealand rabbit, and PRP was prepared using 10 mL of auricular blood from the same animal. Ear cartilage was diced into 0.5- to 2.0-mm pieces, weighed, mixed with PRP, and then placed inside the hollow mold. Composite grafts were then implanted into the backs of respective rabbits (n = 10) for 4 months. The shape and composition of the diced cartilage were assessed histologically, and biomechanical testing was used to determine stiffness. Results: The 3D-printed auricle molds were 0.6-mm thick and showed connectivity between the internal and external surfaces, with round pores of 0.1 to 0.3 cm. After 4 months, the diced cartilage pieces had fused into an auricular shape with high fidelity to the anthropotomy. The weight of the diced cartilage was 5.157 ± 0.230 g (P > 0.05, compared with preoperative). Histological staining showed high chondrocyte viability and the production of collagen II, glycosaminoglycans, and other cartilaginous matrix components. In unrestricted compression tests, auricle stiffness was 0.158 ± 0.187 N/mm, similar to that in humans. Conclusion: Auricle grafts were constructed successfully through packing a 3D-printed, porous, hollow auricle mold with diced cartilage mixed with PRP. The auricle cartilage contained viable chondrocytes, appropriate extracellular matrix components, and good mechanical properties. Levels of Evidence: NA. Laryngoscope, 2019.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • 3D printing
  • auricle. reconstruction
  • Diced cartilage
  • platelet-rich plasma
  • porous hollow mold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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