An Inspiring Story of a Child Who Got The 3D Printed Ear


If you have heeded to Hollywood for the last 20 years, you are very familiar with the astonishing miracles that can be worked by means of modern cosmetic surgery. Things are smoothed, tucked, removed, rearranged or reshaped in ways that make the human body system look like a bit modeling clay. Setting aside some of the more horrible instances of surgery gone off beam, it should be quickly clear that the possibilities for people who have been disfigured to have their appearances positively changed through cosmetic surgery are just getting better.

But not all types of procedures are “Cosmetic” and not medically necessary.

The Use Of 3D Printing For Medical Purposes

An instance is the 3d printed ear which is granted to a child named Kai Sherwood. Kai was born with a medical condition called “microtia and atresia”. The condition unfortunately causes children to be born without one of their ears or a tiny little nub in its place. This case would impact children’s life.

Being an orphan in China, Kai Sherwood was lucky in two different ways. First, among all of the orphans in China, it was a little miracle that the Sherwood family spotted him. And after finding him in July 2013, they decided to take a chance on a child who later in life has health and cosmetic concern to deal with.

His second stroke of luck came because of the incredible technology present in a 3D Systems-manufactured 3D printer, and amazing doctors of Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City Utah and J. Willard Marriott Library of Utah.

The initial procedure was the Doctors’ tool highly detailed 3D that scans of Kai’s left ear. Then, they turned those scans into a 3D model which was an exact replica in size and shape of his good ear. Next it was time to print the ear of out on a powder-based 3D printer that was housed at the J. Willard Marriott Library. The final 3D that is made up of a powder and binder material had a similar reliability to plaster. Then, researchers used this 3D printed ear as a mold to create a more realistic looking silicone version, and painted it to match Kai’s skin tone perfectly.

It was finally time to introduce the 3d printed ear to Kai and attach it to his head with a special form of medical glue.  Incredibly, the ear was nearly impossible to distinguish as silicone. As he grows, new scans and 3D prints will be needed as he outgrows this current ear, but he’ll no longer have to worry about the little things such as why other children might point him or laugh.

Kai Sherwooed is just another incredibly heartwearming application for this amazing technology. Case like this is really inspiring. We must be thankful to the 3D printing that is helping to transform the cosmetic surgery industry and offering many more options for those who really need help but cat cannot afford it.