VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY VOLKER STEGER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Editorial use only.
Artificial ears. Researcher compares a conventional prosthetic ear with a "smart bandage" template (white) used for growing an artificial ear. The template is made of fibres of poly-lactate, a biodegradable fibre. Living tissue is taken from the patient and placed on the ear template. Fed by special nutrients, the cells grow over the template, using the fibres as a scaffold. The ear is surgically attached to the patient's head to give them a natural-looking replacement ear. The polymer fibres gradually dissolve, and are replaced by the body's own tissue. The ear is attached for cosmetic reasons, and helps channel sound into the ear canal.
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