Rapid development of auricular prosthesis using CAD and rapid prototyping technologies.Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2007 Oct; 36(10):938-43.IJ
External ear defects can be corrected by surgery, but this may not be feasible for personal or medical reasons. Reconstructive solutions are a good alternative, but rely on the artistry and availability of the anaplastologist. A semi-automated methodology using computer-aided design (CAD) and rapid prototyping (RP) technologies was developed for auricular prosthesis development, and demonstrated in a real-life case. The correct geometry and position of the prosthesis were ensured by stacking the computed tomography scan images of the contralateral normal ear in reverse order, and joining them using a medical modelling software program. The CAD model of the remnant portion of the defective ear was subtracted from the model of the mirrored contralateral ear, using a haptic CAD system, to obtain the final geometry of the prosthesis. Polymer models were fabricated in RP systems, and used for making a corresponding mould. Medical grade silicone rubber of the appropriate colour was packed into the mould to fabricate the final ear prosthesis and fitted to the deficient side of the patient using medical grade adhesive. The computer-aided methodology gave a high level of accuracy in terms of shape, size and position of the prosthesis, and a significantly shorter lead time compared to the conventional (manual) technique.